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Awareness and Assumptions

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Bravus, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. Probably far from a new thought, but as I was riding in this morning I was wondering why it was taking the drivers around me so long to make decisions and act on them... and why so few of them seemed to be aware I was there, if I got there quickly.

    There are all the usual explanations of carelessness and so on, but I think something that really contributes (and does for pedestrians too) is that the level of alertness that is required of us, and which we get used to operating at, on the bike is just not required of drivers.

    I know that, even if it's been a bit of a dozy day, once I'm on the bike I'm reacting faster, seeing more, thinking more, much more alert, and the world around me almost seems to slow because I'm working at a faster processing speed.

    In the car, that doesn't happen - at least, not to the same extent, and not unless I decide to get a bit frisky. Under normal commuting conditions, the level of psychological and physiological arousal is just much lower.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  2. Since mobile telephones came into common usage by drivers the level of alertness has plummeted.
  3. A metallic cage and 6 air bags can probably make you feel very complacent on the road.
  4. I think, as @end user said, that because when you are in a car a low speed accident isn't likely to do much damage to the occupants. Whereas on a bike, the potential for damage to the rider is quite a bit greater.

    Edit, you can even do a little experiment on your bike. Go for a ride, in traffic, wearing all the gear. Now do the same ride wearing shorts and a t shirt. I'll bet my left nut your senses will be heightened.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  5. There is some evidence that the nature of modern cars with their low noise levels etc isolate people from the road and lead to lack of attention. Also that newer cars with voice recognition or touch screens are more distracting that traditional knobs and buttons. You know where controls are in a car if they are consistent, screens which are context sensitive, voice systems that require phrasing your request in a specific way both lead to brain power being diverted from the situational awareness required.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. The Victorian Scooter Riders Association believes that there's something even more sinister at work with the average numpty driver.

    They believe that there is an intrinsic disdain from drivers towards PTW's given that drivers are in a much bigger vehicle and as such, can bully PTW's around, or alternatively, drivers simply don't care about PTW's but in a menacing kind of way. They call it "the law of the jungle" which I think points to nature's predatorial heirarchy.

    I can't say I fully agree with this. I think the vast majority of drivers are genuinely horrified when they cause injury to lesser protected road users. I think drivers are genuinely shocked when they are caught out by cognitive blindness and "time to arrival" illusion. This suggests that they weren't deliberately trying to put riders at risk.

    Whilst there might be some rednecks exhibiting "law of the jungle" behaviour, I reckon that what's more at play is risk homeostasis and the peltzman effect as a result of driving ever safer vehicles - and probably a healthy dose of plain old creature comfort coccoon inspired complacency.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  7. So the solution is exploding PTWs :) If hitting a bike resulted in an explosion and wiped out the cager they would be much more careful. It wouldn't even need to be every bike, once the message got out that there were exploding bikes on the road cagers would be much more wary.

    We need robotic sacrifice bikes. ;)

    • Funny Funny x 4
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 2
  8. I always think about it this way, if someone is to get a license 95% of the time it's a drivers. Therefore the vast majority of stupid people unfit to drive are getting behind the wheel of a car. They are careless and continue to do what they are doing until one day they are involved in an accident and will see someone laying on the road. It's only until there is a serious/fatal accident that people will think "hmm maybe I shouldn't be on my phone". I see so many people on their phones for no good reason, they value Facebook/Twitter and all that garbage over a human life. That's why if someone cuts me off or doesn't see me and almost causes me to have a nasty accident I will hit the mirror or kick a panel. I want them to learn that way, rather than hurt someone and THEN say they are sorry.
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Over in WA we've got something almost as good. Coppers on unmarked bikes with helmet cams tasked with nicking mobile phone users. I gather that there is some anecdotal evdence that motorists have become rather more aware of filtering bikes since they were introduced.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. That's a fantastic unintended consequence! LOLOL
  11. In all honesty if I wanted to pin down the number 1 reason why I feel more alert on a bike it is lane position. Driving an automatic car you really have creative control over nothing, your speed is set by the car in front or the limit. Your lane position is unadjustable.

    Jump on a bike and you now actually have creative control over something. You follow a thousand bikes for a km and I guarantee they will all travel it in there own unique way. While every car will do exactly the same thing.

    This constant need for a decision to be made is enough to keep the alertness up.

    When I am in a manual car I feel more alert than automatic and that's because there is now some required cognitive imput to decide which gear to be in. But jump on a bike and now I'm alive. Every inch either way around the lane has a reason.

    And no thats not why I ride a bike but it certainly makes it harder to zone out while commuting.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. This is the exact reason why I think cruise control is a killer.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. I had seen this on the news. Something like 1400 tickets issued in a couple of months. Are the cops filtering though? It would make an interesting discussion with one if I ever get pulled over in Perth.
  14. Have to agree there, if I'm at all tired I leave cruise control off.

    Dunno, since starting riding I've noticed myself buffering when I'm driving the Swift (the forester on the other hand, not so much). :p
  15. Really, really wish the other states would take up the 'mobile camera' approach. Arguably at least as dangerous as drink driving, yet barely policed at all.
  16. If I didn't see you and no-one was hurt and I realised my mistake and apologised and you kicked car panel do you know what would happen to you? Simple I'd run you the fcuk down and make sure you were dead. Prison doesn't scare me neither do you
    • Dislike Dislike x 3
  17. Relax ya flaps mate, I am not that stupid to kick at anyone who made a common mistake. I should probably elaborate and explain that I would only do the above if they made a serious mistake and threatened my life. If someone indicates and I don't give way and they move in, fair enough. However if they don't bother head checking and only see me when I am beeping my horn and kicking at the car you can't blame me for reacting like that.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. I'm not sure if the go-pro'd cops are filtering or not. It would make sense for them to do so though, based on what I see when commuting. However, the average driver doesn't know whether they're filtering or not either and so may well be more alert for the bod on the bike whose headlamp just caught their eye in the mirror :D.

    As for being pulled for filtering, I have to say that in 13 years of comuting on a bike in Perth and filtering in the manner of my homeland I've yet to be pulled, let alone booked so I'd say that you're pretty unlikely to experiece a problem. Not nsaying it won't happen though.

    I would add the disclaimer that I can't claim direct experience with these particular gentlemen though. Unemployment has meant that I've not been commuting during the period these guys have been in operation.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. Most cars fcuking up means a serious mistake for bike riders. I reiterate, if you deem it a serious mistake and you were not hurt just had the crap scared out of you and even though it was my fault. If you were to kick my vehicle, I'd run.you down. And I wouldn't even break a sweat over it.
    • Dislike Dislike x 2

  20. If you drive a car, even if you do check your mirrors which not all drivers do, then you still only check them every 7 or 10 seconds or so. If you are in traffic, then there is limited scope for a new car to appear from behind in those seconds, but if you are on a bike, there is plenty of scope to arrive in between mirror checks of the car driver.
    • Agree Agree x 1