This is why we die.

I should stop reading The Guardian becuase it turns me into a ranting stereotype.

Chris Evans mentioned this story yesterday on his breakfast show and said “maybe she shouldn’t drive.” Driving is a skill, it requires hand-eye co-ordination and a high level of mental processing and decision taking. Yet we persist in assuming that everyone can learn this skill. While agreeing that permiership football should be left to the experts.

Jessica Reed’s take for The Guardian? Poor woman, give her a bye and let her on the road anyway.

Even though she doesn’t know the rules of the road or how to spot a hazard.

ACEM, the European manufacturer’s association, analysed accidents in depth for the MAIDS study and found the following:-

“The cause of the majority of PTW accidents collected in this study was found to be human error. The most frequent human error was a failure to see the PTW within the traffic environment, due to lack of driver attention, temporary view obstructions or the low conspicuity of the PTW.”

They hit us becuase they don’t see us. I think the hazard perception test – though not perfect – at least tries to educate drivers about the idea that traffic is a dynamic environment that they need to pay attention to.

I would like to offer kudos to my dad in this post. He’s worried about his sight and he’s going to get it checked to see if he needs to hand in his licence. Another member of my family – who is not getting kudos today – suggested that he was being overzealous in observing the law. I think he’s being incredibly brave. The other reason we die – or lose the use of parts of our body – is that people who can’t see well enough to drive any more persist in taking to the roads because they aren’t willing to balance their need for mobility against the needs of other people not to be hit by half a ton of car driven by somebody who is technically blind. Respect to a man who has driven for over 50 years but is prepared to walk away from it to keep other people safe.

OK. Back to being cheerful.



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7 responses to “This is why we die.

  1. I also agree that your dad is doing exactly the right thing and that light observation suggests that the vast majority of UK drivers and riders are not fit for purpose. However, on the subject of the hazard perception test, I had a bit of a go with the practice DVD and was totally unable to score anything sensible on it. Several advanced driving and riding qualifications suggest that this may be a problem with the test rather than the testee.

  2. Denial is not only a growing old thing.

    A highly myopic family friend was so keen to join the tank corps that he memorised the eye test chart by heart. Thankfully they changed the chart that week and he went on to score a try for the opposing team as he had forgotten that half time had already passed.

    He started to wear spectacles and still drives in his 80's, lives in East Sussex….

  3. Nikos…any chance of a description of what he drives these days so that I have a fighting chance of staying well clear?!

  4. chewy

    Did you get your invite to the weding yet?

  5. @chewy

    sadly not but my rather depressing pension statement arrived

  6. MarkE

    I once saw (or rather, had shown to me) some rather interesting research that suggested drivers do not fail to see motorcyclists; they simply don't look for us. Humans are tribal, so drivers look for members of their own tribe (other drivers) and if they see none, they consider the road to be clear. I would guess that trucks are seen as they are a threat, which motorcycles are not.

    If true (and I think it may very well be) this means that talking about making ourselves more visible etc, is a waste of time; what is needed is to make drivers look for us. I'm afraid I don't have an answer to that!

    Sorry this response is so late, but I have been busy riding a rented Wee Strom around New Zealand, an activity I heartily recomend (this bit is called gloating).

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