Friday, January 8

Interesting Project

Click on image for larger version

Thanks to CycleDog, I saw this interesting project over on the Chainguard list. I see little downside to tracking this sort of thing. It's "The Honk Project" with lots of different behaviors and lots of people, but not so much detail. Personally, I see little downside to keeping a log as the author suggests, and it MIGHT do some good:

Hello fellow cyclists,
I need your help with a research project.

I am looking for volunteers to keep track of instances of hostility they experience on the road this year. Attached is an Excel worksheet that will make this easy. You just fill it in, and send it to me at the end of the year, at markortizauto@....

I have also attached my own completed worksheet for 2009, as an example.

A few instructions:

1.Start an e-mail message, addressed to me per above, which you will use at the end of the year to attach your spreadsheet to. Save this in the drafts folder of your e-mail program. As the year goes along, use this to make note of anything you think might influence the level of friendliness or hostility where you ride. Examples would be broadcasts inciting hostility, large cycling events, high-profile crashes that attract public notice, PSA’s encouraging good road-sharing, education efforts of any kind – really anything you think might potentially be reflected in a change in the loggings on your spreadsheet. Also note any conspicuous patterns in your observations. For example, I only was told to get off the road two times the whole year in 2009, and they both occurred within a time span of less than 24 hours. I’m interested in observations like that.2.Enter your road mileage in cell A8. You can change this number as many times as you want. I just want it to show your miles for the year when you send the worksheet to me. The spreadsheet uses it to figure frequency of the various types of incidents you log, per 1000 miles ridden (column O). Please do not count miles ridden off-road or in competition on roads closed to non-race traffic. Extreme accuracy is not paramount, but be as accurate as you can.3.Be conservative. That is, err on the side of presuming non-hostility, when there is reasonable doubt. Log only instances you’re sure of.4.Log only incidents you personally experience, not ones you read of or hear of.5.If you are riding with another participant in this study, and an incident happens to both of you at once, you should both log it.6.If an incident includes two or more listed categories, log it as one of each of the applicable types. For example, if somebody yells at you and throws something at you, log that as both a yell and a thrown object.7.“Buzzes” are cases where a motorist travelling the same direction deliberately passes really, really close – try to log one of these only when you are fairly sure it’s deliberate.8.“Threats” should include only definite ones, and contingent ones if they are contingent on your doing something you are legally entitled to do. For example, “I will kill you” is a threat. “I will kill you if I catch you riding here again” is a threat. “You might find it safer not to ride here” would ordinarily not be a threat, unless you can clearly establish so by context. Such a case should be explained in your cover e-mail.9.An “oncoming MV feint” is a case where an oncoming motorist swerves toward you, but does not come close enough to actually be likely to hit you – just tries to scare you. Try to be sure they weren’t just avoiding something in the road, or dealing with a distraction in the vehicle. If you’re really sure they were trying to actually hit you, log that as attempted murder.

I do not expect to get a scientifically rigorous poll or survey here, nor highly accurate statistics. What I am after is an initial effort that will reveal conspicuous patterns, such as clustering by geography or time.

I realize cyclists in more densely populated areas will tend to report more incidents, simply because they encounter more traffic per mile. I will try to informally take this into account, but I have not figured out any systematic way to correct for it statistically, so I won’t try to do that.

I considered including a category for attempts to startle, but decided against that because those tend to be so numerous as to be burdensome to count, and many are just ill-considered playfulness by kids, as opposed to serious hostility. There are so many borderline cases that I feared excessive “eye of the beholder” distortion of the results.

I would like to continue to do this over a number of years.

I want as many responses as possible. Ideally, I would wish to have a fairly uniform geographical distribution, but I probably won’t get that, so I’m just going for raw quantity, and I’ll take what I can get.

Please forward this message as you see fit. It’s perfectly all right if I get responses at the end of the year from people I never heard of before.

Thanks in advance for your help with this project.

Mark Ortiz

His first Excel download, the blank worksheet, is here
His second Excel download, which is one that might relate to his own experience, is here
The original message is here, including links to both Excel worksheets. As you might expect, there's a considerable thread of messages about the original one, reproduced above.


Keri said...

I saw this on chainguard today and was thinking of posting it as well. Especially after the last 2 months. I was hoping it was holiday nonsense, but it's still going on. And now with the paper reigniting the road rage war, it's likely to be bad for a while. Two incidents today in a part of town where it's normal to have peaceful coexistence.

Steve A said...

This is a different emphasis than the honk project and probably requires lots of input to become useful. I, for example, would have 2 items to report for last year.

Anonymous said...

Do you organize your spice cupboard alphabetically? I can't believe that you have nothing better to do than to chart this information. Do you chart this info when you drive your car too? Where does the madness end. I am making a spreadsheet to chart the disrespect of phone solicators I will send you a copy.

Anonymous said... don't have to read this. It's a choice.


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