This isn’t strictly bicycle related, but bear with me, as I think cyclists face the same issues…
I was walking, er… skating, my way around the East Side today, when I had a really close call. You might call it a near death or at least near injury experience. As I’m walking across Waterman St., with a pedestrian cross light I might add, two cars were approaching me while driving the same direction along Hope St. Those who know the area, will know that Hope St. is only a single lane in each direction, so I haven’t a clue what they were doing. As they entered the intersection where I’m crossing, the car on the left suddenly decides to turn right. The car on the right swerves to avoid the other car and heads straight for me. After a brief run and dive onto the sidewalk, thank goodness we still have some snow around, I look up to see the two cars speeding away; I doubt either one of them ever saw me.
I had zero time to catch a license plate, heck, I have to admit it wasn’t until later that I even thought about the fact that I should have tried. I was just rejoicing in the fact that I was still alive. But this got me to thinking…
I’m sure most of us have now seen one or more of the awareness tests that have started coming out of the UK. If not, I suggest you take a minute and look at the following:
Put all of this together and it made me realize that we aren’t educating our drivers to see objects other than cars and signs that pertain to driving. Grant it, it’s been a long time since I’ve taken a drivers education course, but I sure don’t remember any sort of serious discussions about avoiding other objects or, heaven forbid, what to do in a situation where you have to decide between hitting another car and a pedestrian or cyclist. I’d like to think I’d be able to choose hitting another car, where the passenger is greatly protected over hitting a pedestrian or cyclists, but I sure haven’t had any training on this. I seriously hope that the driver’s education instructors are thinking about this. They could easily show some of these awareness tests in their classes and with virtual environments and simulators available these days, I would think we could do a much better job putting our future drivers in dangerous virtual situations, before they ever have to face one for real. The space program and Air Force have been doing it for years. At the time when they started, cost was certainly a barrier, but I doubt it costs that much anymore to setup something reasonable.