My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

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rubertoe
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby rubertoe » Fri Nov 09, 2012 18:07 pm

Your all witches and shall be treated as such.
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merkin
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby merkin » Fri Nov 09, 2012 18:34 pm

There is also motion induced blindness. As mentioned, if you are travelling towards someone you appear relatively still but the driver should (you would hope!) know you are heading towards them and not pull out. However if they simply cannot seem you, despite you being in clear view, they may well pull out.
This optical illusion scares me, not least as it makes me think that maybe I might one day be the one saying SMIDSY.
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davmaggs
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby davmaggs » Fri Nov 09, 2012 20:05 pm

Don't make eye contact, seriously. All you are doing is telling them to go ahead and pull out.

Negativelycra
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby Negativelycra » Fri Nov 09, 2012 20:15 pm

IMO the problem is assumption. People see a bike, assume 10 mph, so doing 20+ takes people by suprise and you have a potential for trouble.
I have the same problem driving the caterham - enter a big roundabout at perfectly within the car's normal ability speeds. You'll be doing approx double the speed of dorris in her micra. Busses, lorries, cars etc etc just look at the gap in distance, and cut you up left, right and centre.

The solution? Same for both cyclists and drivers. To avoid trouble, you have to drive / ride better to compensate for muppets around you. You could continue to fly along at 25mph, they would be in the wrong, but it'd be you bleeding. No different IMO than my analogy above - i could sail into the side of the car pulling out in front, 100% his fault. It'd be me with broken ankles and a bent 7.

I know it's annoying, esp. because we're all chasing average speeds on rides - but to be fair it's a public road, so you have to ride with your compensate-for-numpties head on at all times, even if it does cost a few MPH on strava.
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Initialised
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby Initialised » Fri Nov 09, 2012 20:23 pm

Watch this video for some insight into why SMIDSYs happen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo
I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.

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First Aspect
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby First Aspect » Fri Nov 09, 2012 21:05 pm

JonGinge wrote:Also read this yesterday. Illuminating:
http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/raf-pilo ... -cyclists/
Brilliant article - thanks Jon.

I feel that it is flawed in that it fails to address why cyclists don't drive into other cyclists when they drive (actually, it kinda does at the end). The answer, in my view, is that we look for cyclists when we are driving. I wonder if we see them because the motion of our eyes automatically adjusts for the size of the object we are looking for.

Thus, this comes straight back to the problem we all know about - the reason we aren't seen is because drivers aren't looking for us.

I am a timid driver these days. Partly I because I've got three plates and 30 odd screws in my ankle resulting from someone pressing the "go" pedal whilst looking in another direction. Partly its because I'm a cyclist. Partly its because I have cats and love all other animals (not literally). All of this means I get into a car and I am looking for cats, squirrels, rabbits, deer, children (grudgingly), cyclists, etc.

Hence, I don't drive into things I'm looking for. This is simple consequential thinking.

The ONLY solution is for there to be a consequence. Presently, the law says, "whoops". This should not be the case. There should be a much higher duty of care imposed upon you the second you start using a piece of heavy machinery. If that happens to be a car, the duty of care seems to be the same as if you are walking along a street.

When I lived in North America I didn't experience very much aggression when cycling (I wouldn't have taken up the sport if I was here I don't think!). I believe that people tare more patient and cautious there because (a) police have guns (b) hicks have guns (c) your insurance broker asks, "do you want to be covered by $1million liability, $3million, or $5million?". If you have an accident, you are liable for the balance. There are consequences to SMIDSY. You could lose your house and life savings.

There need to be more consequences to SMIDSY here. It is crazy that maiming someone accidentally with a car ususally carries the same penalty as illegally parking.

As much resentment as it would cause, the only way to cause immediate consequential thinking is to introduce a presumption of liability if a car hits anything smaller than it - a motorbike, a cyclist, a pedestrian, a mobility scooter. Not only is this statistically in the interests of justice, it would make more motorists afraid of the consequences of hitting things and so they would look for them.

(And lets just scrap protected no claims bonuses if you are convicted of careless driving, shall we?)

flimflam_machine
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby flimflam_machine » Sat Nov 10, 2012 20:16 pm

Ok, a couple of long posts. First some stuff on the illusion that SimonAH posted (assuming that DDD’s not just trolling) and second some more thoughts on SMIDSY. Apologies for geekery and, to any real vision scientists, apologies for any misplaced terminology.

The illusion that SimonAH posted is an example of Brightness Constancy. Essentially it is your brain disregarding the nature of the light falling (the illuminant) on the object in order to give you an accurate measure of the surface colour (the reflectance) of the object itself. The objective nature of the light that falls on your eye is a combination of the two so, for example, bright light shining on a dark surface returns a similar amount of light to your eye as a dim light on a lighter-coloured surface. There is a fairly powerful argument that these “illusions” are not a sign of the visual system failing, but actually it doing its job properly since the surface colour of the object is much more important than the nature of the light falling on it (see this lot for better explanations). This is perhaps easier to understand for the equivalent colour phenomenon (unsurprisingly “Colour constancy”): it’s important to be able to spot ripe red fruit against green leaves whether they’re in full yellowish-white midday sun or pinkish-tinged evening light.

What SimonA posted is a 2D depiction of a 3D scene. In the 2D version there is no distinction between the surface colour and the light falling, they are just mashed together to give the monitor-outputted value (e.g., R: 150, G: 150, B: 150) at any given pixel. The monitor brightness at A and B are physically the same, but your brain still interprets it as a 3D scene. Your brain, in effect, takes account of the shadow (which implies less light falling on the shadowed area) to return an accurate picture of what the surface colour of the squares would be in the 3D scene. This explains why turning it through 90-degrees may help, since it reduces the plausibility of it as a naturally illuminated, real 3D setup.

Edit to add: rjsterry makes a really good point. When you paint or draw, what you essentially want to do is to put on paper the objective amount/colour of light that is falling on your eye. What makes this really difficult (for untrained people) is that your brain insists on discounting the illuminant and giving you the "answer" of what the surface colour of the object is. If you paint the colour you perceive, the lighting looks all wrong. It's also really difficult to paint shapes accurately e.g., if you place a circular object flat on the floor and look at it from some distance away it will cast an elliptical outline on your eye, but you will tend to draw it as more circular than this outline, because your brain can account for the angle and tells you (correctly) that the object is circular.
Last edited by flimflam_machine on Sat Nov 10, 2012 23:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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bails87
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby bails87 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 21:29 pm

The above is why I'm woeful at drawing. I draw what I know is there, so it ends up looking completely different.

As for First Aspect's point about non-cyclists not looking, I reckon that's right. We tend to know that a quick glance isn't enough, you have to actually look properly] in each direction. We do that on the bike because if we fail to see a ped, cyclist or car we'll end up being hurt,we probably do it in the car because we care about other cyclists. If a driver glances and fails to see anything smaller than a car then he'll be completely unharmed in the ensuing collision, if he's got no real empathy with cyclists and doesn't even realise that a quick spin of the head isn't actually enough then there'll be problems.
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flimflam_machine
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby flimflam_machine » Sat Nov 10, 2012 21:34 pm

Part 2! Although brightness illusions are fun I don’t think they relate strongly to SMIDSY. Nor am I convinced that saccadic suppression (as mentioned in the article by JonGinge) is the answer. If it were then, as First Aspect points out, cyclists would crash into each other more. Also it’s hard to see why it wouldn’t have caused us problems in survival, we wouldn’t have lasted long if saccading past the oncoming sabre-toothed tiger meant that you completely missed it!

I think that SimonAH is closer to the mark when he says that drivers tend to mentally pigeonhole cyclists as slow-moving, essentially background objects, which is exacerbated by, as First Aspect said, their simply not looking out for us!

However! I think there is a fundamental problem, which is that the visual image of a cyclist approaching as reasonable distance doesn’t change a great deal until they get fairly close. Our peripheral vision is actually very sensitive to change, but if you think about the picture of a cyclist approaching you more or less head-on (as they would be at a junction) they are quite small and remain quite small, and in roughly the same relationship to the background, until they’re really close. [sidetrack] This is the looming that rjsterry mentioned, although I think he meant that “As something approaches at a constant speed, it appears to increase in size in proportion to one over the square of the distance. [/sidetrack]

This issue of a little-changing image is particularly problematic ts night when all you might see of a cyclist is a single constant light. The londoncyclist article that JonGinge pointed to is spot on in recommending a flashing light since the highly distinctive change in brightness draws attention. Some relevant work has been done on this area by John Wann. People tend to erroneously estimate that motorbikes will arrive later than cars, I assume that this extends to bikes. One really useful result is that specific headlight configurations can improve people’s accuracy in judging approach rate. Two headlights are better than one, but a triangular arrangement with both vertical and horizontal separation is better. My best guess is that it’s because this pattern perceptually expands both vertically and horizontally as the bike approaches. So the optimal arrangement would be a light on each end of your bars and one on your helmet, possibly with an additional central flasher to attract attention.

tl/dr: one light good; two lights better; three lights best.

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daviesee
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby daviesee » Sun Nov 11, 2012 09:49 am

Negativelycra wrote:IMO the problem is assumption. People see a bike, assume 10 mph, so doing 20+ takes people by suprise and you have a potential for trouble.
I have the same problem driving the caterham - enter a big roundabout at perfectly within the car's normal ability speeds. You'll be doing approx double the speed of dorris in her micra. Busses, lorries, cars etc etc just look at the gap in distance, and cut you up left, right and centre.

The solution? Same for both cyclists and drivers. To avoid trouble, you have to drive / ride better to compensate for muppets around you. You could continue to fly along at 25mph, they would be in the wrong, but it'd be you bleeding. No different IMO than my analogy above - i could sail into the side of the car pulling out in front, 100% his fault. It'd be me with broken ankles and a bent 7.

I know it's annoying, esp. because we're all chasing average speeds on rides - but to be fair it's a public road, so you have to ride with your compensate-for-numpties head on at all times, even if it does cost a few MPH on strava.


^^^^ THIS ^^^^

Whether we like it or not, agree with it or not, this is the situation.
It is better to be safe than right but injured.
PS:- Bright flashing lights help.
None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.

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First Aspect
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby First Aspect » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:05 am

flimflam_machine wrote:Part 2! Although brightness illusions are fun I don’t think they relate strongly to SMIDSY. Nor am I convinced that saccadic suppression (as mentioned in the article by JonGinge) is the answer. If it were then, as First Aspect points out, cyclists would crash into each other more. Also it’s hard to see why it wouldn’t have caused us problems in survival, we wouldn’t have lasted long if saccading past the oncoming sabre-toothed tiger meant that you completely missed it!
You haven't understood. The article doesn't say that we are only able to scan in big chunks and therefore always miss things. Our eyes are perfectly capable of seeing an obect the size of a cyclist, or a tiger, or indeed a bird or a fly. The article points out that by looking quickly, which motorists are wont to do because they are in a hurry, you miss huge chuncks of visual information without knowning it.

As cyclists, by looking for particular types of object out of a sense of self preservation, we are more likely to see it.

Hence, the problem is of awareness.

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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby nation » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:38 am

I remember reading once (can't remember the source) that the tendency of the brain to fill in information in the peripheral vision with what it expects to be there could be responsible for a lot of accusations of cyclists "jumping off pavements".

The idea was that the brain sees something pedestrian sized and shaped in the peripheral vision, makes the assumption that it is a pedestrian, and places it at a distance that puts it on the pavement. Then, suddenly, that assumption is proved to be incorrect when it turns out to be a cyclist on the road in secondary.

The cyclist hasn't done anything but maintain a straight, steady, course, but the driver will nevertheless swear blind (and genuinely believe) that they were on the pavement and jumped off the kerb into their path.

This is mostly the reason I hold a fairly assertive secondary position most of the time, on the basis that the more "in front" of traffic approaching from behind I can be, the better.

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First Aspect
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby First Aspect » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:35 am

There's also the "he must have been on the pavement or I would have seen him" argument.

At the CTC have been pointing out, arguments placing responsibility on the cyclist are much more successful if the cyclist in question is either a child or dead.

pastryboy
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby pastryboy » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:04 pm

Negativelycra wrote:IMO the problem is assumption. People see a bike, assume 10 mph, so doing 20+ takes people by suprise and you have a potential for trouble.



This is definitely it with an added dash of "I don't want to get stuck behind them"

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De Sisti
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby De Sisti » Sun Nov 11, 2012 15:13 pm

nation wrote:This is mostly the reason I hold a fairly assertive secondary position most of the time, on the basis that the more "in front" of traffic approaching from behind I can be, the better.

For that very reason, when cycling by myself (as I do most of the time) I use a Dinotte 400L rear light.


flimflam_machine
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby flimflam_machine » Sun Nov 11, 2012 20:47 pm

First Aspect wrote:
flimflam_machine wrote:Part 2! Although brightness illusions are fun I don’t think they relate strongly to SMIDSY. Nor am I convinced that saccadic suppression (as mentioned in the article by JonGinge) is the answer. If it were then, as First Aspect points out, cyclists would crash into each other more. Also it’s hard to see why it wouldn’t have caused us problems in survival, we wouldn’t have lasted long if saccading past the oncoming sabre-toothed tiger meant that you completely missed it!
You haven't understood. The article doesn't say that we are only able to scan in big chunks and therefore always miss things. Our eyes are perfectly capable of seeing an obect the size of a cyclist, or a tiger, or indeed a bird or a fly. The article points out that by looking quickly, which motorists are wont to do because they are in a hurry, you miss huge chuncks of visual information without knowning it.


Apologies if I misunderstood your point. I do understand the principles explained in the londoncyclist piece so I didn't think that they were saying that we're "only able to scan in big chunks and therefore always miss things", as always it's a bit more complicated than that! I was just a bit confused by the emphasis on saccadic suppression. I guess it's useful information on the nature of the visual system (declining acuity with distance from the fovea, rapidly moving focus of overt attention to compensate, saccadic suppression to prevent hideous, overloading, smeared images), but it didn't seem to add much in the way of explanatory power in the specific case of cyclists. The main message appears to be that cyclists are at risk because they are small and slow moving, which seems pretty obvious.

I think the articles that slowsider pointed to are interesting with reference to the problems that cyclists have. They mesh quite well with what I wrote in my second post i.e., that a cyclist approaching doesn't appear to visually change that much as they approach and so their rate of approach gets misjudged. The Z-line seems like sound advice to me! For cyclists, pulling out from sceondary to primary position as you approach the junction helps make you more noticeable not only by putting you in the middle of the road, but also by moving you across the driver's field of vision.

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SimonAH
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby SimonAH » Mon Nov 12, 2012 09:47 am

Just a quick note. I keep getting pulled out on - but because I expect it to happen and drift to primary before reaching where it could happen, and keep my hands hovering over the brakes I have yet to prang because of it.

Hell yes you have to ride defensively!
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby phy2sll2 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:30 pm

SimonAH wrote:Just a quick note. I keep getting pulled out on - but because I expect it to happen and drift to primary before reaching where it could happen, and keep my hands hovering over the brakes I have yet to prang because of it.

Hell yes you have to ride defensively!


I like the idea, but I think you need to include a quick shoulder check before moving out to the far side of the lane. There's often some bellend trying to overtake at a junction.

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Applespider
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Re: My theory on why I keep getting pulled out on by cars

Postby Applespider » Mon Nov 12, 2012 17:18 pm

I think the expectation of speed is a key point here. It would be interesting to know if those who are speedier than average feel that they are pulled out on more...


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