Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Please pay attention

If you hit another car in traffic, it's probably just another fender bender. If you hit a cyclist, you might cause a death or serious injury. Austin Murphy pleads with motorists to "Open your eyes!" in his Sports Illustrated column.
I was at the far right edge of the road. The car didn't stop. I overtook it, and was attempting to open the passenger door at approximately 15 mph when a very distraught woman rolled down the window and tearfully explained that she was just coming from visiting her husband in the hospital, and that she "didn't even see me."

I thought to myself: I'm rocking electric blue Lycra shorts and an orange jersey, not because I'm color blind, but because I want cars to see me! How could she miss me?

Nearly every cyclist in America has similar stories. We beseech you: Start seeing bicycles.

I live in a part of the country where traffic is expected to increase 250 percent in the next 20 years. We live on a planet whose addiction to fossil fuels has created problems that might be alleviated if people rode their bikes more often.

Bicycles are part of the solution. Start seeing bicycles.
Read more. For Yehuda Moon, click on the comic to see large.


  1. London is having a safety boost at the moment. Giveing 'booster' mirrors to trucks and lights to cyclists


    they also have a test to show how hard looking for two things at once is http://www.dothetest.co.uk/ No Cheating!

  2. I've said it before and I'll say it again... "I didn't see you" should never be accepted as an excuse for a driver almost hitting you, no matter if you're a cyclist, pedestrian, or another car.

    If they didn't see you, they weren't looking hard enough, and if it comes right down to it they should be charged with negligence.

  3. Looks like the Brits have borrowed from C-U's 'gorrilla study' ( see http://viscog.beckman.uiuc.edu/grafs/demos/15.html ) and done their own: http://www.dothetest.co.uk/

  4. The "awareness campaign" -- You guys beat me to mentioning it! I posted last night to CommuteByBike and got around to posting it today here.

    I saw the surprise ending, but I was familiar with the UIUC study that Sue mentioned.

    Jamie, take the test and you might think again about "I didn't see you" as an excuse.

  5. Do The Test

    So, while it's true that people "weren't looking hard enough," it doesn't *necessarily* mean it was because they were attending to anything but driving. Therefore it simply doesn't fit legal negligence.

    It reminds me of when somebody says "if you don't remember that, you just didn't try hard enough." Granted, I need to be responsible for finding a strategy to be where I"m supposed to be, but ... I can't *make* my brain remember. If I don't remember your name, I can try 'til I puke. It's not going to come to my brain.

    If our brains didn't automatically screen out 90% of stimuli, we'd not be able to do the amazing things we do.

    Obviously, if htey were also texting it changes everything - that's a choice to involve the attention and vision somewhere else.

  6. And of course, the vehicular cyclist in me has to comment that he should *not* have been at "the far right edge of the road." People don't see you when you're out of the arc of attention.