I do a lot of reading in this job. I am constantly on the Internet and as a result when I am sifting through news feeds and trying to decide what has relevance to the Canadian Motorcycle Rider I often tag articles/stories to be read at a later time.

One such article is actually a body of research that was conducted in the UK with regards to the differences between automobile drivers: those who hold both automobile and motorcycle licenses and those who only posses an automobile endorsement.

The report is 39 pages long( Road Safety Research Report No. 85 - Car Drivers’ Skills and Attitudes to Motorcycle Safety: A Review) and rather involved reading but is summarized quite nicely:

Schyns and Oliva (1999) found evidence that participants prioritised high spatial frequencies for certain face categorisation tasks, dependent upon the dimension along which the faces had to be judged. This suggests that, even if the prioritisation of low spatial frequencies is the default, those drivers who are more aware of the need to look for motorcycles may adjust the priority bandwidth of spatial frequencies in order to ensure that motorcycles are more easily detected.

Obviously car drivers cannot be forced to undertake several years of motorcycle riding in order to gain the improvements that such experience brings, and neither can we force their loved ones onto a motorcycle, but if we can extract the underlying factors that reduce the accident liability of these dual drivers (who use both cars and motorcycles) then we can apply it to all drivers. This should be the aim for future research in this area.

In a nut shell, if you ride and drive a cage you are less likely to be involved in a collision because your eyes/mind are trained to look for the risk, they are trained to look for motorcycles.

Think of this: Have you purchased a vehicle that you thought was not all that common only to discover after buying it that there are lots of vehicles just like your out there? Suddenly you start seeing your vehicle everywhere? Same idea. Because you ride, your brain knows what to look for.

Makes perfect sense to me.

Then there is a report listing the findings of a survey in the state of Connecticut.
The Survey was done for All State Insurance and focused on the attitudes of cagers towards motorcycles and their riders and vice verse. It can be read here:

According to the online survey of licensed Connecticut drivers, conducted by Directive Analytics on behalf of Allstate, if the state's car drivers had their druthers, about one in four would have bikers banned from highways and parkways. And nearly half said bikers should not be allowed on roadways altogether in inclement weather.

Why the animosity? Because Connecticut car drivers consider motorcycles unsafe. Eighty percent of respondents thought motorcycles are more dangerous or much more dangerous than other vehicles. One in five, in fact, said they have come close to hitting a biker. Illustrating just how anti-motorcycle they are, 75 percent of drivers said they would not let their child ride one.

But, the gripes aren't just on the part of motorists. The survey reveals that bikers overwhelmingly (80 percent) thought they were safer on the road than car drivers, stating that car drivers are careless and don't pay attention to what's going on around them. Bikers also found car drivers to be aggressive, trying to cut riders off, as well as impatient, tending to tailgate cyclists.

Well, that's no news to most riders. We know what most cagers think or don't think about us.

So what is the message that these two articles send to you the rider?

Cagers really do not see you and even when they do most of them would rather not see you on the road.

So like I always say....ride like they are out to get you - because they are!

I would like to draw your attention to a new section here in my blog - Great American Blogs and links - I wished I could put them in the right hand menu but I want to keep the Canadian ones in one list, American in another and International in yet another and these blogs aren't set up to allow you much flexibility to change the order of where things appear. As I hook up with other riders who write I want to draw attention to them all..... so look at the bottom of the blog and you will discover a new category with more to follow.

Please ride safe, be smart...

Belt Drive Betty

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