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John Chew

A question of safety.

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Hello. This is my first MAJOR posting on this forum (there was an earlier, small one about the IPS 111/132, but that was largely insignificant!). However, as people who are also on the Electric Unicycles group on Facebook will know, I'm CONTINUOUSLY sticking my oar in and giving opinions ... :P

 

However, back to the subject in hand. Those on the Facebook group will know there was a recent incident where one of our fellow EU riders was crossing a road and got hit by a police car, being driven the wrong way down that piece of road at high speed. I won't go into details (it's not really my place to do so) but THANKFULLY our fellow EU rider "got away" with it - only minor injuries and a smashed EU. It could have been SO much worse!

 

FIRSTLY I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE AN IMPORTANT POINT.

 

Yes, sometimes police cars are called to emergencies and have to be driven fast and not "in accordance with the rules of the road". We all accept that. Yet when this happens it puts a great EXTRA RESPONSIBILITY on the police driver. He's doing things people DO NOT EXPECT HIM TO DO (like driving the wrong way down the road!) and it is HIS responsibility to ensure nobody gets hurt because he's doing it.

 

If he's driving the wrong way down a road it IS possible that people will not realise what's happening, look for traffic approaching the "right" way - and when they see none step into the road. The police driver has to UNDERSTAND AND ANTICIPATE this risk - and DRIVE APPROPRIATELY, so that no-one gets hurt.

 

In this particular case, the EU rider DIDN'T realise what was happenning, and got both hit and hurt by the police car. This was something the police driver should have anticipated and not allowed to happen. This incident is, I believe, the POLICE DRIVER'S FAULT - if fault is to be allocated. Yet now let's get away from finger pointing and fault allocation, and to another point this incident raised.

 

THE EU RIDER WAS WEARING HEADPHONES, LISTENING TO MUSIC, AND DIDN'T HEAR THE POLICE CAR'S SIREN.

 

Does this make this incident the EU rider's "fault"? No, it doesn't. Not even slightly. You have EVERY RIGHT to listen to music as you ride your EU (or walk, or run, or skateboard for that matter). HOWEVER ...

 

IF he had not been listening to his music and heard the siren, then he would have been aware of what was happening. He would not have moved off the pavement and he would not have been hit by the police car.

 

PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES. They say "to err is human", and it is. Sometimes, indeed MOST of the time, we get away with those mistakes and no-one gets hurt. Occasionally people DO get hurt, or even killed - as could have happened in this case, the EU rider in question should consider himself a very lucky man.

 

However there are things we can do to MINIMISE the risks we face. Not only the risk of making mistakes OURSELVES, but also the risk of suffering the UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENSES OF THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS. When riding our EUs our EYES may tell us what is happening in front of us, but it's our EARS that give us information about what is happening EVERYWHERE ELSE.
 

If we render ourselves "deliberately and artificially deaf" by means of headphones and music, then we are inevitably limiting what we are aware of - and by doing so we increase the risks we face. Your EARS are as much "protective equipment" as any helmet, elbow pads or knee pands you might wear.

 

Now everyone must make their own choices, of course - but for me, I DO NOT WEAR HEADPHONES AND LISTEN TO MUSIC while riding my EU.

Edited by John Chew

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I very much agree that headphones/ear plugs are a definite no whilst using any public area that is shared with motor vehicles, but in my opinion that applies to cyclists, pedestrians and any others users regardless of their mode of transportation. Let's face it no matter who's at fault in a collision a ton of motorised metal is very likely to come off best.

On the other hand listening g to music at a low volume from a standard speaker can serve a useful purpose in warning pedestrians of your otherwise silent approach.

It would be highly annoying for all those around you if you had high volume blaring music playing but as the wheels are so quiet that is not required.

Edited by Gimlet

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Hi John,

 

Thank you for your post.
Can you tell us if the police said anything to the EU rider about riding an EU on the public road at all?

 

Getting an accident is what we all fear sometimes I think. I've had one close encounter so far (car coming out of a drive way unexpectedly), but was able to avoid a crash).

 

I agree completely with you. You should not listen to music if it is so load you cannot hear what is going on around you. This goes for everyone I think.
Yes, you have the right to listend, but as you are participating in traffic, it is also your responsibility to stay alert of what is happening around you. And your hearing plays an important part in that.

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Me too, you have not only share the road, you also have to share your eys and ears!

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idk I think I'd rather be hit by a car than be forced to listen to wind noise.. for three years I have ridden about every single day with headphones.. yes I know you could lose your second most important sense but whatever.. I don't listen to it at blaring volumes, and actually having headphones in at low volume will actually IMPROVE your hearing.. riding 50+ kph without anything in your ears... deafening, can't hear squat anyways... it's like at a concert you can actually hear the music much better if you put in earplugs

Edited by Rywokast

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I very strongly advocate that people should not be wearing headphones while mixing with traffic - whether that is as a pedestrian, cyclist or EUC rider.  Personally I have wireless earbuds and when I commute I wear just one of them in my right ear.  That way I can still maintain situational awareness.  It is something I am passing down to my kids as well - when mingling with deadly automobiles you need every sense you have.

Several years ago on my way home from work I actually hit a 15 year old, in a crosswalk, with my car.  Luckily he was ok.  It had snowed something like 20 cm that day, the roads were a mess.  I drive a small car and have winter tires.  There was backed up traffic blocking my view on the right, and he decided he would try to get across the road as fast as possible, I guess not to inconvenience the traffic?  In any case I'm driving and am presented with this kid, with a hoodie on and headphones in, carrying a guitar case, running across the road.  I had time to honk the horn several times and tried to get out of his way but ended up hitting him at a low speed, but it still knocked him over and bruised his leg.  If he wasn't wearing the headphones or hoodie and stopped running for just two steps I would've missed him.

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45 minutes ago, Xoltri said:

Several years ago on my way home from work I actually hit a 15 year old, in a crosswalk, with my car.  Luckily he was ok.  It had snowed something like 20 cm that day, the roads were a mess.  I drive a small car and have winter tires.  There was backed up traffic blocking my view on the right, and he decided he would try to get across the road as fast as possible, I guess not to inconvenience the traffic?  In any case I'm driving and am presented with this kid, with a hoodie on and headphones in, carrying a guitar case, running across the road.  I had time to honk the horn several times and tried to get out of his way but ended up hitting him at a low speed, but it still knocked him over and bruised his leg.  If he wasn't wearing the headphones or hoodie and stopped running for just two steps I would've missed him.

You had the time to honk the horn several times and still hit the kid in a crosswalk? Very puzzling.

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Just now, Mono said:

You had the time to honk the horn several times and still hit the kid in a crosswalk? Very puzzling.

Yep, the whole thing was in slow motion.  I recall clearly turning, honking, pumping the breaks.  The kid just wouldn't stop running.  Given the conditions it took a long time to come to a stop.  Granted we both learned a lesson, me to pay closer attention to every crosswalk and him to be more careful crossing the road.  We actually spent an hour in the car together (him in the drivers seat actually) waiting for an ambulance to check him out.  It was -20c and too cold to wait outside, and given the conditions and the number of collisions in the city at that time we were not a priority for emergency services so it took a long time for them to get to us.

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On 1/30/2015 at 1:45 AM, John Chew said:

one of our fellow EU riders was crossing a road and got hit by a police car, being driven the wrong way down that piece of road at high speed.

Lawyers back here would be salivating to get a case like that to get a piece of that."..$ettled out of court..".

As a former motorcyclist, us riders need to always be situational aware though since we are not protected by airbags and a vehicle frame. And we are taught car driver's are just not watching out for us.

Personally putting on headphones and just drifting off is a luxury I know if only I do at home or in the confines of work where I am cutting off outside distractions.

Edited by giggidditygiggiddity

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10 minutes ago, giggidditygiggiddity said:

Lawyers back here would be salivating to get a case like that to get a piece of that."..$ettled out of court..".

I suspect the police would win the court case as the guy is riding an illegal vehicle without insurance while wearing headphones at such a volume that he can't even hear a police siren.

Years ago my brother was once in a taxi in Spain (Barcelona I think). The taxi driver couldn't work out why all the normal roads were closed so drove the wrong way up a small one way street to get onto the main road he was after. Both my brother and the taxi driver were a bit confused because, when they emerged onto the main road, there were thousands of people behind big barriers on both sides of the road. It turned out they'd driven into a moto GP race :)

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Hmm. My first reaction is the EUC rider is at fault for wearing headphones so loud he couldn't hear a siren of a police car, it must have been very loud.

If you cut off your ability to hear then you are responsible for not hearing the siren no? 

Everyone knows emergency vehicles occasionally must drive fast and dangerously, they warn you with lights & sirens. People's lives are in danger.

Put it this way; here, the law is when a siren is approaching, all traffic must pull off to the side of the road or simply stop in place at an intersection until the emergency vehicle passes. So if a driver gets t-boned by an ambulance because they had their stereo so loud they couldn't hear a siren, is that the ambulance/cop's fault? Nope.

Personal responsibility means the EUC rider shouldn't be in effect 'deaf' while riding in traffic for no reason except they want to be. In my opinion, with the info provided the rider was fully at fault here.

 

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AFAIK not being able to hear does not disqualify from participating in individual transportation. Meaning, deaf people do get driver's licenses too (personal experience and Google, both seem to agree). That tells me, that acoustic signals on the streets cannot be legally relevant or binding, or, in other words, one cannot make the assumption that someone else can or does actually hear the signal.

Edited by Mono

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3 hours ago, mike_bike_kite said:

I suspect the police would win the court case as the guy is riding an illegal vehicle without insurance while wearing headphones at such a volume that he can't even hear a police siren.

Imagine that winning cases. I hit *insert-victim* because he was wearing headphones despite me speeding down the wrong way judge, my siren, my right if way. No no I was not in pursuit either.

Is a euc even considered a motorvehicle? Euc bro could've been on an electric wheelchair, it's still a mobility device in essence.

Idk wat country your from, but even a broken sidewalk a pedestrian who tripped and fell sued and won against the city. That's amurrca for you.

Edited by giggidditygiggiddity

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Quote

Does this make this incident the EU rider's "fault"? No, it doesn't. Not even slightly. You have EVERY RIGHT to listen to music as you ride your EU (or walk, or run, or skateboard for that matter).

I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement by the original poster, ESPECIALLY the notion that it doesn't even slightly make it the rider's fault.  This one action of DISTRACTED DRIVING makes it MOSTLY the rider's fault, even if countless other people do the same thing.  BTW, yes it is true that we have every right to listen to music as we ride... but not if it is done in a way which diminishes the rider's senses.

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We need to remember that OP said EU was crossing, so I'm presuming he was hit from the side, since said vehicle sped and hit, one can assume both entered the spot at the same moment regardless if he had headphones, this was clearly an accident if it is the case. 

In this case a direct hit and immediate cause will be, driver did not see EU rider which is why he was hit, and second fact is speed.  The EU rider could win a small claims court back if this was amurrca and get back a new wheel at least IMHO.

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9 hours ago, Rywokast said:

idk I think I'd rather be hit by a car than be forced to listen to wind noise.. for three years I have ridden about every single day with headphones...

You should try wearing a hoodie with the hood over your head. It dramatically reduces the wind noise I experience.

I do love wearing headphones occasionally and listening to music, because carving + certain music puts me in an incredible zen state. But I really only do it in certain neighborhoods that I know like the back of my hand and that which have minimal traffic.

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5 minutes ago, Meelosh123 said:

You should try wearing a hoodie with the hood over your head. It dramatically reduces the wind noise I experience.

I do love wearing headphones occasionally and listening to music, because carving + certain music puts me in an incredible zen state. But I really only do it in certain neighborhoods that I know like the back of my hand and that which have minimal traffic.

yes that helps immensely, sometimes i dont have a choice because it feels like my ears are about to fall off from the cold, but otherwise i really hate wearing hoods as it hinders your peripheral vision and makes it difficult to look behind you.. i need to get a balaclava lol

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I'm (almost) deaf when I ride.  Good chance I wouldn't hear the police car either.  I wear 2 hearing aides in day-to-day life.  On an EUC I wear a motorcycle helmet & of course no hearing aids.  Where I am, hearing is NOT required to drive a licensed vehicle & of course not on  a bicycle or EUC either or as a pedstrian.  Here, hearing isn't required for any (common transport).

Police sometimes have emergencies, but they STILL must use due care even with flashing lights & sirens not to hurt/kill someone.  What if the police officer hit a young child who froze (terrified) in a crosswalk?  What if the police officer hit a deaf/blind adult who was crossing?  Having sirens & lights doesn't give you a license to mow people down.

 

Edited by /Dev/Null

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3 hours ago, giggidditygiggiddity said:

Imagine that winning cases. I hit *insert-victim* because he was wearing headphones despite me speeding down the wrong way judge, my siren, my right if way. No no I was not in pursuit either.

Is a euc even considered a motorvehicle? Euc bro could've been on an electric wheelchair, it's still a mobility device in essence.

Idk wat country your from, but even a broken sidewalk a pedestrian who tripped and fell sued and won against the city. That's amurrca for you.

I was actually on a jury in court case (civil) where someone fell in hole in the sidewalk and sued the city & (kind-of) won.  I remember some details - The city was legally responsible for the sidewalk, had been notified for months there was a hole in it and hadn't repaired it in a timely manner.  The city was found 55% at fault due to the hole, but the plaintiff couldn't prove it was just the hole and not the snow/ice in that same hole that made him fell.  I think the sum was 5 figures...

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5 minutes ago, /Dev/Null said:

I'm (almost) deaf when I ride.  Good chance I wouldn't hear the police car either.  I wear 2 hearing aides in day-to-day life.  On an EUC I wear a motorcycle helmet & of course no hearing aids.  Where I am, hearing is NOT required to drive a licensed vehicle & of course not on  a bicycle or EUC either or as a pedstrian.  Here, hearing isn't required for any (common transport).

Police sometimes have emergencies, but they STILL must use due care even with flashing lights & sirens not to hurt/kill someone.  What if the police officer hit a young child who froze (terrified) in a crosswalk?  What if the police officer hit a deaf/blind adult who was crossing?

 

yes there are a lot of folks with hearing loss so obviously they are not exempt from driving or operating a bicycle or pev.. it is not required here either, however there is a law banning headphones from being used by the driver of a motor vehicle.. the same does not apply to pedestrians of course.. if ANYONE hits a pedestrian here for any reason, it is their fault.. police or not just because it is an emergency situation does not mean that nailing some guy on a bike isnt their responsibility lol.. perhaps the guy was a bit fool hardy to listen to music so loud that he wouldnt be able to hear emergency vehicles.. but most likely under the law he is absolutely not at fault in any way and could easily press charges

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2 minutes ago, /Dev/Null said:

I was actually on a jury in court case (civil) where someone fell in hole in the sidewalk and sued the city & (kind-of) won.  I remember some details - The city was legally responsible for the sidewalk, had been notified for months there was a hole in it and hadn't repaired it in a timely manner.  The city was found 55% at fault due to the hole, but the plaintiff couldn't prove it was just the hole and not the snow/ice in that same hole that made him fell.  I think the sum was 5 figures...

for sure.. if they have been notified of any dangers on public property they are totally responsible for damages

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Just now, Rywokast said:

for sure.. if they have been notified of any dangers on public property they are totally responsible for damages

The snow had just fallen & it was the property owner  who is responsible for that.  If there was no snow, I think the city (probably) would have been 100% at fault & award (almost) doubled.

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Just now, /Dev/Null said:

The snow had just fallen & it was the property owner  who is responsible for that.  If there was no snow, I think the city (probably) would have been 100% at fault & award (almost) doubled.

if its on someones private property then why would the city be involved at all? same here you are legally supposed to shovel any show and put down salt because if someone slips they can sue you, even if its the sidewalk.. that counts as your responsibility if its in front of your house

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3 minutes ago, Rywokast said:

if its on someones private property then why would the city be involved at all? same here you are legally supposed to shovel any show and put down salt because if someone slips they can sue you, even if its the sidewalk.. that counts as your responsibility if its in front of your house

The city is responsible for paving the sidewalk in front of the houses, along the street etc.  It's also responsible for maintaining the pavement.  The homeowner is responsible for cleaning it.  The plantiff argued it was the hole that caused the fall.  The city argued it was the snow inside the hole that caused the fall.  If it was the snow inside, it wouldn't have been the cities fault.  If it was JUST the hole that caused the fall, it would have been the cities fault as they are responsible for paving/maintaining the pavement.

I think the city was probably sued because that was where the money was.

Edited by /Dev/Null

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