Principled Pragmatist stoked an interest I've had for a while, namely the interaction between slow moving vehicles operating IN a vehicular fashion, and faster moving ones (cars and trucks). The purest such case I know of in the US is the Amish, where buggies exercise lane control on the roads since they are simply not narrow enough to hug the edge of the road.
I made a post on that topic, here, but the link to the paper has died. Luckily, I found another place it can be found, here. If you looked at the video, it is chock full of info on how motorists should keep an eye out so they don't run into Amish buggies from behind. It's also full of info on how the Amish can better be seen from behind. If you read this from the point of view of a motorist, such as a motorist coming upon a cyclist, this seems perfectly logical. And it has some great photos of how visibility can be enhanced. However, the story deepens a bit if you also look at the second article that I referenced last June and again in this post. THIS article illustrates the vast difference between life as viewed from behind a windshield, and life as viewed behind the reins.
If you watch the video again, fast forwarding through all the actual reflectivity stuff, you'll see a strong sense that the danger is portrayed as getting run down by a motorist that can't slow down, or recognize the buggy, especially at night. HOWEVER, the study noted today concludes that most of the buggy/car crashes are actually: · during daylight, · on straight roadways, · at non-intersections, and · with no adverse weather conditions.
The cause of the crash is typically listed as “following too closely” which results in a rear-end crash to the buggy. Certainly if you just drive into the back of something right in front of you, "following too close" is an easy thing for the LEO to cite, but "straight roads" and "daylight?"
Something doesn't match here. That video is mostly visibility and stopping. Hmm...
What's MORE, if you go to the back of the study, you'll find that the law enforcement types wanted to address the "problem" by educating the Amish and making up rules for them. The Amish, on the other hand, noted that most of the crashes were with locals, with truckers much less of a problem. They also seem to feel that motorists don't understand hand signals. In the final analysis, I got a queasy feeling that the authors of the study really didn't ever get a good idea of WHAT actions, by either the Amish, or by others, could help reduce collisions, nor even what really causes those collisions. Other, tantalizingly incomplete articles are here and here.
Certainly the parallels are far from perfect. Motorists tend to overestimate the speed of buggy drivers while they underestimate the speed of cyclists. That is, I think, fortunate for cyclists because it means motorists change lanes early for cyclists. What's more, cycling accidents are mainly urban while the Amish aren't very prominent around the DFW Metroplex or other large cities. Cyclists don't have problems with runaway horses or hitching accidents. Mostly, if a wide shoulder exists, the Amish will take it in preference to the roadway. Still, there are lessons to be learned by cyclists from the Amish. One of them is that the factual data is not real easy to find without a lot of "spin."
Subject Matter Mostly it's about local transportation cycling, as it exists in the here and now. It's got a smattering of other gratuitous toy recreation thrown in to keep y'all a little off balance. For those that don't know me, toy recreation means English & Italian cars, aircraft - and downhill skiing.