Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:I'm a cyclist too, and you're victim-blaming (Score 1) 947

It's an example of how 95% of cyclists in my city and many others ride.

No. This statement is an example of how biased your perceptions and recollections are. As other people have already pointed out, in any study ever done on the subject, the results have been the same: the vast majority of bike-car collisions are caused by motorists, not cyclists.

The problem is that the way the human perceptual and attentional systems work is that we only notice, perceive and remember things which stand out or generate an emotional reaction. Just about everything else gets filtered out. We literally don't notice, attend to, or remember the instances which don't stand out or don't piss us off. So, either:

1) all studies done on the subject are wrong and you have some kind of superhuman cognitive abilities
OR
2) you are wrong and making stuff up

It's likely not intentional on your part - it very well could be that 95% of the cyclists you observe do behave in this manner, but this is only because you are literally failing to notice the vast majority of cyclists who don't behave recklessly or piss you off somehow.

Our perceptions and recollections are horribly biased, and even more so concerning "the Others" that are not part of our in-group. Correcting for this bias is the primary reason we have science. And the science on this says you are wrong. Unless you are a superhero, in which case you should probably be out fighting crime instead of wasting time on Slashdot.

Comment Re:It would be safer if cyclists followed traffic (Score 1) 947

We're reading the study quite differently. I think it's quite clear that the researchers were interested in neither legal culpability nor determining which party made the "worse" error in judgement. They quite clearly state that listing an accident as caused by one party or another is for classification purposes only.

I agree that we are reading it differently, and I admit your interpretation of the researchers' interests is a possible one - but it is far from clear. It certainly isn't clearly stated that the labels are for "classification purposes only" anywhere. Do you mean this quote?:

The categories are defined by the driver- or cyclist-actions that describe each event most succinctly. Categories named "Ride Out..." refer to the actions of a cyclist, while "Drive Out..." refers to the actions of a motorist. Although they may refer to the actions of only one party, these labels are not intended to assign fault.

Again the "assign fault" in the above quote means legal culpability. Possibly it means physical "cause" as well, but this is doubtful, as they are quite clear about making a specific distinction between "cause" and legal "fault" later on (when discussing cyclists riding on the sidewalk):

...While cyclists in such cases may therefore be deemed at fault in law, it is probably not correct to suggest that sidewalk cycling was the sole "cause" of these collisions. In many collisions of this type, it is quite likely that the motorist did not come to a complete stop before crossing the stop bar....

As you can see here, they are saying that while a cyclist riding on a sidewalk who gets struck by a car at an intersection might be found legally culpable they attribute the actual cause of the accident to the motorist's behaviour

Nowhere do they say the bins are arbitrary classifications. The bit about "...that describe each event most succinctly" indicates that the bins ARE related to the behaviours which precipitated the collision. Furthermore, their bin types are derived from (and meant to be comparable to) those of the Federal Highway Administration's (which you can find here: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/pedbike/96104/). The FHA's crash types are specifically defined as:

These crashes can be classified or "typed" by their precipitating actions, predisposing factors, and characteristic populations and/or location that can be targeted for intervention.

So, the type classifications they're using are very much meant to indicate which behaviour precipitated the collision (and who's behaviour needs to be corrected)

In the quotes I included above the researchers disclaim both fault and absolute cause.

I believe I have already adequately addressed your first quote, but your second quote: "Thus it cannot be said, for instance, that more cyclists than motorists caused collisions by disobeying traffic control." is taken entirely out of context. It's from a section dealing with other secondary contributing factors that may have played a role in addition to the main cause. The sentence you quoted is referring to their inability to make an accurate comparison of cyclist caused collisions due to disobeying traffic control vs motorist caused collisions due to disobeying traffic control - because secondary contributing factors were not recorded in all cases. Here's the same quote with the relevant preceding context:

...Note that, while some of these factors (weather conditions, etc.) are known in almost all cases, others (such as disobeying traffic control) appear to have been reported less consistently. Thus it cannot be said, for instance, that more cyclists than motorists caused collisions by disobeying traffic control.

It's quite clear from that section that what they're saying is that of the collisions caused by motorists and those caused by cyclists, they cannot compare the proportion of each that were due to disobeying traffic control (e.g. running a red). So they can't say something like "Of the collisions caused by cyclists 60% were due to disobeying traffic signals, while of the collisions caused by motorists only 40% were due to disobeying traffic signals.". This necessarily implies that the crash types assigned do indicate an attribution of cause to either the cyclist or the motorist in the first place.

As for the rest of your last comment, you do realize that it is simply your opinion and perspective right? I could tell you a whole slew of similar stories about the poor behaviour of motorists as well, but it would only be my opinion and perspective. The point is that we are BOTH biased in our perceptions and observations, we BOTH only notice and remember the behaviours of "the Other" that piss us off, and we BOTH empathize more with the side that is most similar to us. So again, while I could go on with stories that are basically the same as yours but where its motorists driving recklessly, I realize that I am likely highly biased in my perceptions and memories. They are likely not representative of actuality. There's simply no way to tell from anecdotes who's correct, my opinion isn't any more valid than yours, and yours isn't any more valid than mine. The only way to really grasp what's happening is with empirical data.

While there is some small ambiguity in the interpretation of the study I linked, I also mentioned earlier that the same basic findings had been replicated in other studies. Someone else was nice enough to post links to articles summarizing some of those other studies elsewhere in the comments. I'll reproduce them here:

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/study-blames-drivers-for-bike-crashes-20101122-18330.html
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/drivers-to-blame-for-twothirds-of-bicycle-collisions-in-westminster-8602166.html
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/dec/15/cycling-bike-accidents-study

While it may seem to you like cyclists behave in a more reckless and dangerous manner, the data simply doesn't support that view. In the end though, it's up to you whether to ignore the data or re-evaluate your preconceptions.

Comment Re:You prove the point (Score 1) 947

In other words, the bikers that were hurt were stupid enough to assume that the motorist was in any way paying attention. You can hugely reduce the risk by making that assumption and acting accordingly, including beady ready to swerve out of a bike lane if a car weaves into it.

It may have technically been the motorist at "fault", but from my biking experience on real roads if you just assume cars have no idea you are there you will save yourself from many a near miss and/or accident. I'd rather be alive than smug.

I agree completely. I do precisely the same thing. I generally assumed that most motorists are criminally incompetent idiots. I know this is incorrect, and that the vast majority of motorists are good, law-abiding citizens and competent drivers who are aware of their surroundings. But when you're sharing the road with someone driving a 5 ton metal box at 3-4x your speed, assuming they're a moron can save your life.

Comment Re:How safe? (Score 1) 947

Fair enough, my apologies for the misinterpretation.

The numbers I have seen do support your assertion that of ALL bike related injuries, most are related to the cyclist's behaviour, as most of them are simply falls that don't involve collisions with cars.

Comment Re:It would be safer if cyclists followed traffic (Score 1) 947

I have read the study, and I was aware of that caveat. However, you're misunderstanding the point - it was meant to address issues of legal culpability (e.g. fault vs. cause). Since the data were based on actual police reports, the researchers are basically disclaiming themselves from any claims of legal responsibility.

All you really need to do is look at "Table 3.2" in "Chapter 3: Key Findings" and sum the numbers for incidents caused by cyclists vs. those caused by motorists. The results are quite clear.

On the other hand, why should I be surprised that a cyclist doesn't bother to read the study they referenced, or that they automatically assume they're right regardless of what's actually in front of them? Such behavior matches perfectly with my observed actions of cyclists on the road!

I have nothing against motorists, but you certainly seem to have a bias against cyclists.

I could respond in kind, and assert that it certainly seems like it was you who didn't bother to actually look at the numbers or make a good faith effort to understand what was being said; and simply cherry picked a single comment out of context which appeared on first glance to support your preconceptions. I could also go on to make similar unwarranted assumptions about your behaviour, and claim that they match my observed actions of motorists on the road as well (they do in fact)

But you know what? It's not constructive, my own observations about motorists are likely biased in many ways (e.g. availability heuristic etc...). Making unwarranted assumptions about others based on biased preconceptions serves no one any good. So, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you did read the study and the numbers and simply misunderstood them.

In the future though, I would caution you to read things a bit more carefully before making unwarranted assumptions about another's behaviour or comprehension based solely on your own perceptions and preconceptions. It's always better to take a second look, and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Comment Re:Please (Score 1) 947

No problem!

To be clear, I wasn't criticizing your comments, just that study. I see it bandied about all the time by anti-helmet zealots, and few of them bother actually assessing it's merits, so it's become kind of a pet peeve for me :P

I've never owned a car and have been commuting by bike for 20+ years myself and I always wear a helmet. I've never done cross-country or long-distance biking, so I can't speak to that, but even just cycling in-city, I wouldn't wear a helmet if I didn't have to. They're hot, constricting and the straps chafe, but as you say, the benefits outweigh the annoyances, my brain is the most expensive thing I own! If there were any reliable empirical data showing that helmets are less safe, I would ditch mine in an instant.

I'm not sure about the overtaking thing though, in this study by the City of Toronto: http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/publications/bicycle_motor-vehicle/ "Motorist Overtaking" was the second most frequent cause of bike-car accidents (accounting for about ~12%), right after "Drive Out At Controlled Intersection" (by motorists - for cyclists it's called "Ride Out At Controlled Intersection"). I've seen stats for other major cities that corroborate the general finding (motorist behaviour causes the vast majority of incidents), but of course the specifics of types of incidents may vary by region.

Comment Re:How safe? (Score 4, Informative) 947

...effectively the injury/death rate is mostly effected by poor decisions by the cyclist, not the car.

This is incorrect. In any study regarding bike-car collisions I have seen, the overwhelming majority of them are caused by motorist negligence. Take a look at this study by the City of Toronto based on police reports:

http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/publications/bicycle_motor-vehicle/

It shows something like @83% of bike-car collisions were caused by the motorist, not the cyclist. This basic finding has been replicated in many other cities as well. I can't find the link at the moment, but IIRC it was like 90%+ caused by motorists in NYC.

Comment Re:It would be safer if cyclists followed traffic (Score 1) 947

Motorists are more reckless and dangerous than cyclists.

In pretty much every study conducted on bike-car accidents, the majority of them have been caused by motorists breaking the law, not cyclists. In Toronto, it's something like ~83% of bike-car collisions were the fault of the motorist, not the cyclist. You can see that data here:

http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/publications/bicycle_motor-vehicle/

The basic results have been replicated in many other cities as well. IIRC in NYC it was even worse, with like 90%+ bike-car accidents being caused by motorists...

Comment Re:Please (Score 1) 947

You're talking about this study by Ian Walker:

http://drianwalker.com/overtaking/overtakingprobrief.pdf

The problem is that it was horribly flawed.

It was conducted by a single guy (who was both subject and researcher), who is an "anti-helmet" activist (seriously). It was a sample size of 1, and it didn't control for the behaviour of the cyclist himself, or any controls at all for that matter (obviously couldn't be double-blind!).

It's completely bogus. There's no way to tell if the difference in distance was caused by the behaviour of the driver or the behaviour of the cyclist.

Additionally, he used the shady "truncated axis" technique to visually exaggerate the difference between the distances observed in the two conditions. This might be ok if the data was significant and it was pointed out that this was being done to highlight the significant difference. However, while he claimed the difference was big, he never said it was significant and he didn't provide any statistical methodology or significance metrics (e.g. p values). If the differences were significant, then why would he have not said so and included the metrics? I don't know a single scientist that would omit that. This is the kind of thing I would have failed students for when I was grading papers in grad school. There is precisely *zero* reason to visually exaggerate differences on a graph, while simultaneously omitting statistical significance analyses, unless you are being deliberately deceptive.

Check out the following link for some better information and meta-analyses:

https://sites.google.com/site/bicyclehelmetmythsandfacts/

Comment Re:only? (Score 1) 947

Actually, the majority of collisions between cars and bikes are because the motorist was not following the law, not the cyclist.

Here's some data from the City of Toronto pulled from police collision reports. Something like ~83% of bike-car collisions were found to be because of driver negligence:

http://www.toronto.ca/transportation/publications/bicycle_motor-vehicle/

The same basic findings have been replicated in many other cities (you can find the data online). IIRC it was even worse in NYC, with motorists being the cause of 90%+ bike-car collisions.

Comment Why M-Type instead of C-Type? (Score 1) 223

My question is why are they focusing on M-Type instead of C-Type asteroids?

Sure metal is a useful building material, but the world's energy demand is far outstripping the supply.

Bringing back a couple of carbonaceous asteroids would very likely satisfy most of our global energy requirements for the foreseeable future.

Comment Re:Derp? (Score 1) 630

Agreed. At the company I work for we are constantly looking for new developers, and it's not because we don't get enough people applying. We get swamped in resumes. There are tons of unemployed software developers out there.

Sadly, once we interview them, we realize why they are unemployed. Most of them are basically incompetent. Finding a developer with *real* talent amidst the hordes of people claiming to be developers is very challenging.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside desperate to get out." -- Montaigne

Working...