As a motorcycle rider, it isn’t unusual to have near misses with cars. The more often you ride, the more you will have. Just the other day, barely 50m from my house I was forced to come to full emergency stop part way around a roundabout when a car coming from my left clearly hadn’t seen me and wasn’t going to stop.
Just as I pulled up, the driver saw me and also stopped. He gave an apologetic wave and I carried on.
I have to say, this one was kind of close. Worse, if it had been a minute or two earlier, my own daughter would have been standing at the bus stop just metres away and seen the crash, or at least the aftermath.
And it was my closest in several weeks. I pulled over a few metres up the road until I could catch my breath and the shakes slowed down a bit.
But that isn’t the point of the post.
Riders will always discuss this kind of event amongst themselves. It’s actually beneficial in that it provides a forum to examine the incident and learn from it. Even if we’re not doing it consciously, we’re still learning. Incidents like this years ago are part of the reason I was even looking for the car in the first place.
But what about the driver? Did he go to work and sit down with his mates and describe how he almost collected a motorcycle on the way to work?
I bet he didn’t. Does anyone? It’s a natural tendency to cover up our mistakes. Not let people know.
But there was more than just laziness at work for him. If he was a local, I would be confident he would know that my direction is the least used, so he’s assumed there would be no traffic. The mind is pretty amazing so even if he did look my way, his mind was not expecting to see anything and so he didn’t. These other factors are well understood in other circles (like in aviation). Google the gorilla suit in the basketball game for an extreme version of this “not seeing things”.
And so his learning will be less – and there is more chance he will do it again. Or that his friends who never have this discussion have more chance to have the same mistake.
So would you talk about it?