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In other words, don't just look; see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In other words, don't just look; see.
Actually, more than that, make yourself visible. By adjusting our speed through intersections we make ourselves easier to be seen. That's a pretty big deal.
 

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Thanks for posting that. I had not seen it before and think it's pretty relevant for cyclist safety.
Yeah, I've never heard that about how our eyes work, even thought it, but after reading that, it sure makes sense.
 

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There is good advice in that article. He mentions blinking lights front and rear and while this is good for the reasons listed, I often wonder if by doing that we are conditioning drivers to look for blinking lights and not seeing any assume there's no cyclist there.

There's a lot of science in how we see, but from what I've seen in the past 10 years, drivers putting the phone down would go a long way. Yesterday a car ran a stop sign to my left as I was in the turn lane turning towards the car. The driver was holding their phone up and looking at that. I think the passenger must have said something because the driver stopped in the intersection and I was able to safely pass. It seems that distracted is more deadly than how our vision has developed over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There is good advice in that article. He mentions blinking lights front and rear and while this is good for the reasons listed, I often wonder if by doing that we are conditioning drivers to look for blinking lights and not seeing any assume there's no cyclist there.

There's a lot of science in how we see, but from what I've seen in the past 10 years, drivers putting the phone down would go a long way. Yesterday a car ran a stop sign to my left as I was in the turn lane turning towards the car. The driver was holding their phone up and looking at that. I think the passenger must have said something because the driver stopped in the intersection and I was able to safely pass. It seems that distracted is more deadly than how our vision has developed over time.
Yeah, I'm not a fan of front and rear blinkies, but if it's dim out but not dark enough to use my generator lights, I'll use my rear battery powered blinky just to make myself that much more visible.

And as far as distracted drivers, it's my understanding that they are more dangerous than impaired drivers. I believe that too, as most drunks put a lot of effort into their driving, trying to look sober.

But may both, distracted and impaired drivers, lose their right to drive. They are a danger to everybody out there.
 

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That article describes exactly what happened when I was hit by a car.

A driver was sitting at a stop sign coming out of a parking lot. The MUT I was riding on crossed in front of her path. She was looking hard to her left for cars (I was coming from her right). I slowed as I approached because I could see she was not looking my direction. Just before I crossed her path, she looked directly at me (in my exact direction). I was about 5 meters off of her right front bumper coming towards her. 6' 5" riding a large bike, wearing a white helmet, blinky front light, and high-vis orange jersey. When I saw her look at me, I proceeded to cross her path at approximately 5mph. She looked back to her left and saw no cars, and accelerated just as I was in front of her right headlight. She never saw me. Punted me out into the street. Severely mangled shoulder, large 'bumper split' on my left knee. Fortunately, no serious brain or spinal injury. Took me nearly 7 months before I could sit on a bike again.

I hired a lawyer experienced with bicycle cases, he asked me if i thought she saw me. I told him she looked *right at me*. He asked again if I knew if she saw me. Of course I can't know without getting off the bike and conducting a personal interview and asking written permission to cross. His point was, bicycles are, or at least can be, completely invisible to motorists, even if they look in your general direction. Even taking precautions like blinking lights, light/bright clothing, etc... it's not enough.

Something I've started doing in situations like this is to shout loudly ("HEADS UP", or something similar). It's amazing some times the look on a drivers face when they don't realize you are there until they hear a voice that is right in front of them. That very thing happened to me today. It wasn't really a close call, but I was riding on a trail that crossed a road. The driver of a Prius approached the stop sign, which is there specifically to allow bike and foot traffic to cross. I was approaching from her right and could tell, that despite slowing, she had no intention of stopping. I slowed. If I hadn't, she might have hit me. As I approached her passenger side door as she went past, I shouted very loudly (YOU HAVE A STOP SIGN!!). Her head bolted over in my direction and she looked like she saw a ghost.

I take zero chances with these situations now. Any time I'm crossing a vehicles path that might believe they have a right of way absent of my presence, I make 100% sure that they know I'm present, and yield to me. Making a loud sound is helpful at time, although not always necessary. Most drivers do ok with this, but it only takes one who is distracted, or loses focus, or has a lot of other sensory input (loud music, children, pets, etc...) taking away from their focus for bad things (tm) to happen.
 

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As a driver, I can definitely sympathize with them, there's quite a bit to process even when they're not texting/eating/putting on makeup/catching Pokemons.

But I also tend to notice cyclists while I'm driving, maybe b/c I sympathize with them too??

I know drivers aren't the malicious murderers we often make them out to be, but I'm not sure if this is the best defense, either. Though I've heard of this phenomenon.
 

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I liked the bit of science behind the vision processing but mostly I appreciated that this article was about tipping the odds in your favor. It wasn't some clickbait article about "one simple trick that will *demolish* your chance of being hit".

Thanks for sharing!
 

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Actually, more than that, make yourself visible. By adjusting our speed through intersections we make ourselves easier to be seen. That's a pretty big deal.
Indeedly. We cyclists should take responsibility for our own safety by being visible and attentive and so forth.

I was rather addressing the article's (totally correct) explanation of perception to the effect that a driver's brief and sweeping gaze across a junction is akin to looking, while deliberately and repeatedly focusing is akin to seeing.
 

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In other words, don't just look; see.
Yeah, ya gotta take snapshots with eyes in focus. They also call it "situational awareness." Not only do we actually see things, but observe their movements in relation to ours, and plan out escape strategies when collision appears imminent.

Ride on! This Brit could have used a good editor. :D
 

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That article describes exactly what happened when I was hit by a car.

A driver was sitting at a stop sign coming out of a parking lot. The MUT I was riding on crossed in front of her path. She was looking hard to her left for cars (I was coming from her right). I slowed as I approached because I could see she was not looking my direction. Just before I crossed her path, she looked directly at me (in my exact direction). I was about 5 meters off of her right front bumper coming towards her. 6' 5" riding a large bike, wearing a white helmet, blinky front light, and high-vis orange jersey. When I saw her look at me, I proceeded to cross her path at approximately 5mph. She looked back to her left and saw no cars, and accelerated just as I was in front of her right headlight. She never saw me. Punted me out into the street. Severely mangled shoulder, large 'bumper split' on my left knee. Fortunately, no serious brain or spinal injury. Took me nearly 7 months before I could sit on a bike again.

I hired a lawyer experienced with bicycle cases, he asked me if i thought she saw me. I told him she looked *right at me*. He asked again if I knew if she saw me. Of course I can't know without getting off the bike and conducting a personal interview and asking written permission to cross. His point was, bicycles are, or at least can be, completely invisible to motorists, even if they look in your general direction. Even taking precautions like blinking lights, light/bright clothing, etc... it's not enough.

Something I've started doing in situations like this is to shout loudly ("HEADS UP", or something similar). It's amazing some times the look on a drivers face when they don't realize you are there until they hear a voice that is right in front of them. That very thing happened to me today. It wasn't really a close call, but I was riding on a trail that crossed a road. The driver of a Prius approached the stop sign, which is there specifically to allow bike and foot traffic to cross. I was approaching from her right and could tell, that despite slowing, she had no intention of stopping. I slowed. If I hadn't, she might have hit me. As I approached her passenger side door as she went past, I shouted very loudly (YOU HAVE A STOP SIGN!!). Her head bolted over in my direction and she looked like she saw a ghost.

I take zero chances with these situations now. Any time I'm crossing a vehicles path that might believe they have a right of way absent of my presence, I make 100% sure that they know I'm present, and yield to me. Making a loud sound is helpful at time, although not always necessary. Most drivers do ok with this, but it only takes one who is distracted, or loses focus, or has a lot of other sensory input (loud music, children, pets, etc...) taking away from their focus for bad things (tm) to happen.
Your accounts are interesting. They seem to say you expect cars to grant you the right of way, so you shout to make sure they know you're there and will let you proceed. :nono: That is the recipe for disaster, as you found out, right?

OTOH, if rider assumes he is invisible, which he is until he's often too close to avoid collision, he'll automatically give cars the right of way. He'll slow down, wave the car through, or track stand if the driver stops.

I have more than once assumed a stopped car was granting me the right of way, then got clipped by his bumper as he pulls out without having seen me at all, or has decided I've given him the nod. The last time this happened I vowed never to go in front of a car in an intersection, unless it's obvious I'll make it. I'll motion them forward and slip behind them. If there's a line of cars, there's plenty of room to do that in front of the other cars.

Seems to me very easy on a bike to see what's coming up on the sides or in front. No windshields, no coach pillars blocking your view, 180 degrees unobstructed view. Very easy to relate to other objects in your path, stationary or moving, and adjust speeds accordingly. Yes, slow before intersections, not to mention before passing someone on the MUTs. Never assume people see you until you're right on them and then be prepared to slow down and take evasive action.
 

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The reason I use my voice in situations where driver has to yield to me, is exactly because I assume I am invisible to them. I'm not sure how you could interpret that otherwise?
 

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The reason I use my voice in situations where driver has to yield to me, is exactly because I assume I am invisible to them. I'm not sure how you could interpret that otherwise?
That's right. A voice from nowhere announces the presence of a person on a bike or motorcycle that driver better jam on the brakes and find out what WTF he missed. :shocked:

Sorry man. I just found deciding to shout at cars about to cross your path so they'll do the right thing if you have the right of way, brake, and let you go in front of them, is the wrong way to go. Good luck!

A cyclist on a 17 pound bike is making a big gamble, assuming a two ton motor vehicle will brake or not interrupt rider's progress. It's great to have the law on your side, but it ain't gonna heal those broken ribs. Ride as if invisible.

Alright, maybe shouting as a last resort seconds before a collision when all else has failed. But you probably know that. My apologies.
 

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Using my voice is just something I do when I don't think I have a stopped drivers attention BEFORE I cross their path (when I have the right of way). It's not like I'm riding around screaming at the top of my lungs every time I see a car. In places where bike lanes and trails cross in front of stopped traffic, I do everything I can to make sure a stopped car knows I'm there.

I gave an example above where a driver didn't stop at a stop sign. I shouted "You have a stop sign" at her as she rolled through just to remind her to stop at stop signs. This had nothing to do with saving my life. I could tell she wasn't going to stop. I probably should have left that anecdote out, so you would be less confused. That has nothing to do with the general point I'm trying to make.

My point is, I don't trust drivers to see me, even if I see them look in my direction. I want some kind of acknowledgement that they know I'm going to ride across their path while they are stopped. A head nod, a hand wave, something so I know they see me. If I'm not sure, I'll give them a 'Heads Up!' or something along those lines. If I'm still not 100% sure, I'll come to a stop and wait until I am 100% sure.

I made the mistake of assuming I was seen once. I won't do it again.
 

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My point is, I don't trust drivers to see me, even if I see them look in my direction. I want some kind of acknowledgement that they know I'm going to ride across their path while they are stopped. A head nod, a hand wave, something so I know they see me. If I'm not sure, I'll give them a 'Heads Up!' or something along those lines. If I'm still not 100% sure, I'll come to a stop and wait until I am 100% sure.
Good advice well said. :thumbsup:

Using the voice as a tool to tell people you're there is appropriate many times, even when cars are in doubt and politely waiting for your to make a move. Hand signals, saying stuff, where you point the bike, all tools of communication to let potential threats know your presence. It's all good.
 
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