Friday, September 25, 2009

Crash Causation Revisited

Ok, we admit it. Our original version of our information section followed the 'conventional wisdom' that the majority of crashes are caused by cages violating the right of way of the biker. Hurt proved this, and everyone knows bikers who had crashes like that.

We no longer believe this.

But we don't know for sure. After spending the summer riding around, talking to bike training and safety experts and reviewing obscure studies from abroad, it is clear to us that things have changed.

We believe that bikers are now responsible for the majority of bike crashes, as Steve Garets of TEAM OREGON told us last June. The actions of the US Marines, Air Force and the Army in revamping their training regimen, and several studies from abroad were further clues.

As I said, in the absence of a new crash causation study, we can't say for sure, but it seems unsafe to assume that, if we go, it will probably be at the hands of a cage driver who didn't see us.

Far healthier to assume that, if we are going to die on our bikes, it will probably be because we didn't know enough, were not defensive enough, had not practiced our skills enough, or were taking too many risks without being able to back them up. Or maybe because we were drunk or stoned. All these probable causes are ones we can do something about. See our BikerED section for more.

I am not saying we need to ignore the conspicuity issues and situational awareness of cages that can potentially turn across us. Far from it, they are still probably responsible for over a third of bike crashes. It is still a big deal. Just not the major issue.

And the next time you come across conventional wisdoms, reflect that if it is based on outdated information, maybe it's not so wise.