Some of us have seen this article before. Either way it is worth paying attention to again.
What it illustrates is that we make assumptions all the time. We are wired that way. Our brain creates gaps in perception to free up space. We don’t notice the blanks because we fill them in. The problem is that these filled in blanks are sometime simply not true. Ultimately we make an assumption. A statement of sorts.
We assume a truth and do not consider for a moment that this might not accurately represent the situation. By stating “the road is clear” we must, on some level have asked “is the road clear?” However few of us consider that question. “Is it really clear?”
Actually we should be asking questions. Of our own reality and how others perceive theirs.
What a strange assumption to think that our “reality” is true for others too.
Without drifting too far from the cycling theme we could argue that the “gap” we require to navigate a given road safely may have completely different dimensions to that perceived by a driver.
Maybe instead of the statement: “The roads are unsafe”
We should rather ask: “How can we make roads safer”
Even better still: “What can I do to make my ride safer and more pleasant for all concerned”
That is taking responsibility and therein power.
Entries for next year’s Argus have sold out in a record 6 days! The only way you can still get a place on the start line now is to get a charity entry. Assuming that you have raised enough Randelas for dying pandas in Mexico you can now turn your attention to how to get ready for 9 March 2014!
Every year I see the same thing come spring when winter bodies are forced into summer lycra. Everybody heads out on their steads. A few things should be remembered in order to ensure that you have the best chance of success on the day. I say chance because unless you follow these simple pointers you are wasting your money on the latest Tour de France training techniques and Lance Armstrong drug cocktail.
Most importantly is that you get to race day in one piece. This is what I will concentrate on for this blogpost.
1) Make sure you choose the safest routes when out on your bike!
No riding on highways of any kind. That means any road that has a blue road sign is strictly off limits despite the fact that they may be part of the race route. So no riding on hospital bend and the Blue Route M3 highway. It is not pretty when a car traveling at 100km/h collides with a bicycle.
2) Ride safe. Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of other road users. That means never go through a red traffic light. Not because it is convenient or the right thing to do. How can you expect motorists to respect you as a co road user when you weave in and out of cars? Think of it from there point of view. “There goes that cyclist again and now I need to pass him AGAIN inconveniencing myself” this makes motorists angry.
Ride single file. Simple. Yes obviously there are occasions when riding two abreast is perfectly safe but you better acknowledge motorists so that they can see that you intend to get out of the way.
3) Make yourself visible. Red light at the back and flashing white light at the front really draw attention.
Don’t assume that motorists have seen you. Malcolm Gladwell writes about this in Blink.
Greet and acknowledge other road users. A simple thankful wave when a car waits patiently behind you to pass goes a long way. Think of it as reinforcing positive behaviour.