Electric 'car' fright

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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby kwackers » Sat Jun 14, 2014 2:46 pm

Most modern cars have engines that can't be heard so I'm not sure what the problem is. I've had the occasional 'jump' when a vehicle I was unaware of came past - but they weren't electric and so I didn't make any real note of the fact.

As a rule with favourable wind condition a 30-40mph car I can hear half a mile back from it's tyre noise but throw in an unfavourable wind and it can be surprising just how close they can be before they're audible.

I can't help but think this sort of thing probably happens occasionally to most cyclists but in the best traditions of confirmation bias as soon as it's spotted it's electric a mental note is made.
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby DDW » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:27 pm

chocjohn9 wrote:Someone overtaking and missing me by inches is never good, but today I was happily enjoying the sunny spin down a fairly wide country lane when an electric Renault Twizy passed by, well within my comfort zone.....My goodness, I jumped out of my skin.
The shock of not hearing it coming, the unexpected alien looking lump of metal and plastic and the fact that it was very close, really isn't on and I suppose we are going to have to get used to this sort of thing. I thought the manufacturers were going to give these 'cars' a noise so people like us lot would be able to brace ourselves for a drive by....

For those who don't know what one is, there are 3 photos here (the last one is ironic) -
http://www.renault.be/nl/gamma-renault/ ... tijden.jsp



Pedestrians on shared use paths have been saying that close passes by fast moving cyclists coming up from behind make them jump as long as I can remember. Maybe this will cause a little more understanding on what they have to endure.
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby reohn2 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:39 am

DDW wrote:Pedestrians on shared use paths have been saying that close passes by fast moving cyclists coming up from behind make them jump as long as I can remember. Maybe this will cause a little more understanding on what they have to endure.


And I suspect even more frightening/startling if not heard approaching,I always alert pedestrians of my approach especially from behind,however there are a growing number who prefer to be in a world of their own via earbuds/iPod etc.
Whilst more often than not I can attract their attention I find I have to shout louder than I like and some just don't hear my shouts(I prefer not to use a bell)I do startle these types,but short of tapping them on the shoulder or making myself hoarse I don't see an alternative :? .
If out walking on say a dual use tarmac path on which bikes can be almost if not totally silent,I don't think it unreasonable to expect warning of a cyclist's approach especially from behind.
I'd also expect cyclists to slow down and give as much room between themselves and me as the path allows.


On the road I'm programmed to expect the unexpected and I also use a RVM to minimise that effect.
Whilst cycling on quiet roads it's not unreasonable to expect a known(to the owner)silent electric vehicle to sound the horn 50m or so back when approaching vulnerable road users,horseriders especially could be in real danger if a silent vehicle wooshes past suddenly startling the horse they're on or even if the driver sounds the horn too close before overtaking.
TBH there's a couldn't care less attitude by some which IMO is a societal problem and not confined just to the roads,though that's where a lot of it is played out.It's might is right carelessness that does nothing for peace and harmony IMO.
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby Bicycler » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:02 am

Using a horn to warn a horse rider of something behind is asking for trouble, even at 50m. Even with a cyclist up front I think using the horn could give the wrong type of message ("get out of my way"). I'd certainly give them every chance to look round and notice me first. How long do people cycle forwards without looking behind?
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby Flinders » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:31 am

Bicycler wrote:Using a horn to warn a horse rider of something behind is asking for trouble, even at 50m. Even with a cyclist up front I think using the horn could give the wrong type of message ("get out of my way"). I'd certainly give them every chance to look round and notice me first. How long do people cycle forwards without looking behind?


Twice recently I've had pedestrians asked me, when I have slowed, stopped, coughed and said 'excuse me' when they were walking side by side on a narrow road in front of me, why I didn't use a bell; I explain that some pedestrians don't like it as it created the impression it means 'get out of my way'. (there also isn't room for a conventional bell on my bars). One one of these occasions, I stopped for a chat and we discussed the whole problem, one of the two people said he had a bell on his bike, but used it from a long way back, which seemed to work without creating offence. I'd try it, but would need to find some alternative way of fixing a bell somewhere, and it would need to be very small.

As a horse rider, I wouldn't want a bell or horn going off behind me, so I apply the slow-down,-cough or make some other noises well in advance- and-then-say -excuse-me approach. What really spooks a horse is a sudden close noise, or even worse, something appearing suddenly in their peripheral vision that they haven't heard approaching. Some horses aren't used to bikes so their silent approach is scary, one hose I knew didn't mind bikes, but really, really hated high-viz. :shock: It's always best to do what we'd like other vehicles to to for us as cyclists- overtake carefully, giving plenty of warning and plenty of space. That's in our own interests too, as when horses shy, they shy sideways, oddly enough sometimes parts of the horse end up going towards what is scaring them.

Also re horses- like cyclists, the more half-asleep they look, the more easily startled they will be. Same goes for their riders! :wink:
(And a horse on a long (i.e. sagging) rein is not necessarily laid back either.)
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby simonineaston » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:35 am

I watched an electric launch glide by, while I was enjoying a sun-downer on the poop-deck the other day and fell to musing about how we confuse the idea of power with noise. There is something slightly other-worldly about something moving fast in near silence. We learn that things we think of as fast are almost always noisy and the noisier, the faster.
While I am entirely sympathetic with the folks who've been startled by overtaking electric vehicles, I imagine in practice they were no closer than the internal combustion engined equivalents... unless driven by some saddo who thought it fun to startle as closely as they could!
It seems a sad irony that one of the great potential benefits of an electric vehicle - its silence - should be considered such a threat that some folk are campaining for fake noise to be added to them!
If you want a weird experience that combines electric engines with bicycles :wink: , watch the You Tub clips of the electric TT races...
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby iviehoff » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:02 pm

Flinders wrote:Twice recently I've had pedestrians asked me, when I have slowed, stopped, coughed and said 'excuse me' when they were walking side by side on a narrow road in front of me, why I didn't use a bell; I explain that some pedestrians don't like it as it created the impression it means 'get out of my way'.


When I had a modern type pingy bells, the reaction I got from pedestrians was often "sod you". But since I got an old-fashioned type bicycle bell, the kind with an internal rotating thing, I have never incurred that reaction. Seems you need to have a bell with the right kind of noise to appear polite rather than impatient.
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby reohn2 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:14 pm

Bicycler wrote:Using a horn to warn a horse rider of something behind is asking for trouble, even at 50m. Even with a cyclist up front I think using the horn could give the wrong type of message ("get out of my way"). I'd certainly give them every chance to look round and notice me first. How long do people cycle forwards without looking behind?


I agree but for a silent car driver there's little else they can do so an earlier warning perhaps 100/20m?

PS,TBH I was thinking mainly of cyclists and pedestrians where 50m was concerned.
Last edited by reohn2 on Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby 661-Pete » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:10 pm

Flinders wrote:As a horse rider, I wouldn't want a bell or horn going off behind me, so I apply the slow-down,-cough or make some other noises well in advance- and-then-say -excuse-me approach. What really spooks a horse is a sudden close noise, or even worse, something appearing suddenly in their peripheral vision that they haven't heard approaching. Some horses aren't used to bikes so their silent approach is scary, one hose I knew didn't mind bikes, but really, really hated high-viz. :shock: It's always best to do what we'd like other vehicles to to for us as cyclists- overtake carefully, giving plenty of warning and plenty of space. That's in our own interests too, as when horses shy, they shy sideways, oddly enough sometimes parts of the horse end up going towards what is scaring them.

Also re horses- like cyclists, the more half-asleep they look, the more easily startled they will be. Same goes for their riders! :wink:
(And a horse on a long (i.e. sagging) rein is not necessarily laid back either.)

We've had threads about horses before now, and living in an area where there are lots of riders about, I think I'm quite familiar with how to deal with them.

Yesterday, out for a pootle, we approached some horses from behind and I said, in a medium tone of voice, "excuse me, bikes coming" as I normally do. Usually I get an acknowledgement from the riders, but not on this occasion, so I repeated, a bit louder, "bikes coming!". It was on the third attempt that one of the riders reacted, then I passed them. My wife, a bit further back, couldn't overtake because of an oncoming car, so she waited behind: she was then rebuked by one of the riders (as she told me afterwards) for "following too close". Now, my wife is as familiar with horses as I am, she certainly won't follow a horse so closely as to startle it or put herself in danger. Moreover, if a horse is known to be a 'kicker', isn't it supposed to have a red ribbon in its tail or something?

Sometimes I think the riders ought to learn as much about road sense as the animals they're riding... :?

I must stress, this little encounter was the 'exception that proves the rule'. 99% of all horse riders are the very model of courtesy, in my experience.
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby kwackers » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:00 pm

I was out running in Delamere Forest with two other guys and as we ran we came up on two horses coming the other way. One of the riders started shouting at us from some distance away (but we couldn't hear) then as we drew level we didn't half get a mouthful for 'running near the horses'!

I don't know much about horses (except they look very bitey and like to lick the arms of joggers) but these particular horses looked to be a lot more stressed by all the shouting their rider was doing. I'd also suggest that if a horse isn't any good around joggers why would you take it out on trails were there are hundreds of them? Presumably it wouldn't be great with cyclists either?
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby brynpoeth » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:25 pm

When passing a horse I try to communicate with the rider (eye contact), to be friendly and patient, and I ring my bell gently several times so the horse can "locate" me. Of course I wait till there is space and I keep as far away as possible.

It's often quite nice to have contact with "people" (walkers, horse riders, cyclists). When there is not too much traffic shared walking and cycling paths are ok. It would be even better if the horses wore nappies.

Horses may be quiet "prey" animals but they weigh a few hundred kilos too.
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby MikeF » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:45 am

reohn2 wrote:
DDW wrote:Pedestrians on shared use paths have been saying that close passes by fast moving cyclists coming up from behind make them jump as long as I can remember. Maybe this will cause a little more understanding on what they have to endure.



Whilst more often than not I can attract their attention I find I have to shout louder than I like and some just don't hear my shouts(I prefer not to use a bell)I do startle these types,but short of tapping them on the shoulder or making myself hoarse I don't see an alternative :? .

What's the point of shouting?? What is your aversion to a bell?? It's many times more audible than shouting and used properly it should rarely startle anyone. If you used a bell on shared use paths you'd realise that it can be heard (by most people anyway) at a considerable distance. I find it advantageous; it gives people 10secs or so warning (and me time to slow or react if they are deaf). How much warning does your shouting give them?? What's more, people very frequently thank or acknowledge the use of a bell.

(Never use it near a horse rider though, but then I see idiot cyclists racing by equestrians with disregard to anyone's safety.)
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby MikeF » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:20 am

brynpoeth wrote:When passing a horse I try to communicate with the rider (eye contact), to be friendly and patient, and I ring my bell gently several times so the horse can "locate" me. Of course I wait till there is space and I keep as far away as possible.

It's often quite nice to have contact with "people" (walkers, horse riders, cyclists). When there is not too much traffic shared walking and cycling paths are ok. It would be even better if the horses wore nappies.

Horses may be quiet "prey" animals but they weigh a few hundred kilos too.
Never ring a bell near a horse. Make sure the rider and horse know you are there, so both know you are passing. Pass slowly, give plenty of room and be aware the horse may shy.
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby kwackers » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:25 am

MikeF wrote:and be aware the horse may shy.

Wouldn't want to be blushed on.
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Re: Electric 'car' fright

Postby 661-Pete » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:46 am

I am not a horseman, just someone who meets them a lot of the time, and some of this is empirical, some of it is hearsay, hope it helps.
  • If a horse spooks (starts behaving erratically) ahead of you, stop but do not dismount. If the horse thinks that one approaching 'predator' has suddenly turned into two, its fear may increase. Do not interfere unless you have experience with horses: let the rider sort it out.
  • Older horses are far more docile than young ones: goes without saying. This presupposes, though, that you can tell the age of a horse by looking at its behind!
  • Horses in a group are likely to be calmer than single horses. Remember it's a herd animal.
  • Horses like the sound of a human voice (within reason). Remember, that's what they hear in the stables every day.
  • Recumbents and horses in the same place are bad news, I'm afraid. Nothing looks more, to the horse, like a big cat or a wolf stalking up on it. Actually 'bents are very rarely seen in our part of Sussex - possibly for this reason.
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