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Old 03-26-07, 09:10 AM   #1
kf5nd
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What is the most common outcome of a hazardous situation?

What is the most common outcome of a hazardous situation? For example, not being trained in how to undertake a complex and potentially injurious actvity... not having the proper safety equipment... not paying attention... not being sober while doing the activity... etc.

The most common outcome is: NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.

Which lulls people into a sense of complacency. If the activity were so risky that huge percentages of people died doing something, not many would do that activity. But most people act unsafely in some area of their lives, and routinely get away with it.

Until someday, all of the tumblers of the cosmic lock align, and *bang*, they get bit by probability and they fall victim to the risk factors.

This is why it is so hard to talk to people about safety. They just don't get it. They don't see the big picture, they can't reason using statistics, most of what influences their behavior is via direct experience, word of mouth, peer group pressure, or media influence, and they just go along with all of those.
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Old 03-26-07, 09:28 AM   #2
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The most common outcome of a hazardous situation is us complaining about it on here.
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Old 03-26-07, 09:29 AM   #3
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Sure, everything we do in life is a gamble. A plane could crash into my house right now and kill me, but I haven't built a plane-proof bunker yet to house my family.

I agree that talking to people about safety is very difficult. People worry about all the wrong things that they get from the media, friends, etc. Although to a certain extent you have to trust your own anecdotal, empirical evidence to define the risk in your environment. If someone did a study on bicycle accident rates at a specific intersection that I cross everyday I would be more inclined to change the way I ride based on those statistics then I would for a survey conducted on one in LA or NYC.
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Old 03-26-07, 10:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
What is the most common outcome of a hazardous situation? For example, not being trained in how to undertake a complex and potentially injurious actvity... not having the proper safety equipment... not paying attention... not being sober while doing the activity... etc.
The most common outcome is: NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.
Asked and answered in the same post
But how do you come up with "nothing" as being your answer?
Let's take one of your examples and look into it a little more, "not being sober".
Say I drive drunk for 5 miles. Using your approach of listening to statistics in this situation, we can assume that I would be safe, statistically speaking of course, and so would others on the road. Since it can be shown that more drunk drivers make it from point A to boint B without incident. I guess I can conclude that drunk driving is safe.
See how listening to statistics can get you into trouble when trying to prove a point?

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Originally Posted by kf5nd
Which lulls people into a sense of complacency. If the activity were so risky that huge percentages of people died doing something, not many would do that activity. But most people act unsafely in some area of their lives, and routinely get away with it.
Try telling this to people who have signed up for the America armed forces in the last 3.5 years.

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Originally Posted by kf5nd
Until someday, all of the tumblers of the cosmic lock align, and *bang*, they get bit by probability and they fall victim to the risk factors.
At which point statistics would mean nothing right? Since we are talking about fate here. No matter how much safety you use to your advantage, if one believes in fate, then they would not live a minute longer. If of course you subscribe to the theory that "the great ones" wrote the story of your life long ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
This is why it is so hard to talk to people about safety. They just don't get it. They don't see the big picture, they can't reason using statistics, most of what influences their behavior is via direct experience, word of mouth, peer group pressure, or media influence, and they just go along with all of those.
I don't see how what you mentioned earlier concludes to this.
But I do agree, people don't see the big picture alot. Maybe, the big picture doesn't relate to them. For instance, statistics on getting killed by an aligator mean nothing to me since where I live aligators only live in the zoo.
What does my example have to do with cycling? Well, we are talking about the BIG PICTURE here, and some cyclists do have to give them some though. You can use my example and fold it over a few times and look at it like this.
There is a cyclist on here who lives in Costa Rica, in the non-turist area, where there are not many, if any at all, paved roads and no such thing as traffic. So do you think he really cares about VC, DLLP, and avoiding busses?
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Old 03-26-07, 10:07 AM   #5
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I don't care about statistics and I don't get complacent. Statistics scare you into not living life to its fullest, complacency gets you killed.
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Old 03-26-07, 10:09 AM   #6
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I see the point.

A good example is drivers who roll thru right turns on red, with hardly a glance to left (let alone to their right) to see if a vehicle is coming or a ped is in x-walk. People get away with it accident free many times a day, day in day out. Maybe after 3-10yrs of doing this they pull right in front of a cyclist or into a ped using the x-walk. Many more collisions are prevented as motorist slams on brakes just before hitting someone.

A similar/related bad driver behavior is not stopping fully at stop line (before x-walk marked or not) Most often there is not a ped who is using x-walk who is hidden behind the stopped vehicle to the left of driver who doesn't stop before stop line. But sometimes a ped is moving along in x-walk and the driver who doesn't stop where they should hits them.

There are many other bad driver behaviors that folks get away with, but these two are observable in so many drivers it seems its almost become the norm.

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Old 03-26-07, 02:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
What is the most common outcome of a hazardous situation? For example, not being trained in how to undertake a complex and potentially injurious actvity... not having the proper safety equipment... not paying attention... not being sober while doing the activity... etc.

The most common outcome is: NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.

Which lulls people into a sense of complacency. If the activity were so risky that huge percentages of people died doing something, not many would do that activity. But most people act unsafely in some area of their lives, and routinely get away with it.

Until someday, all of the tumblers of the cosmic lock align, and *bang*, they get bit by probability and they fall victim to the risk factors.

This is why it is so hard to talk to people about safety. They just don't get it. They don't see the big picture, they can't reason using statistics, most of what influences their behavior is via direct experience, word of mouth, peer group pressure, or media influence, and they just go along with all of those.
That's a really good point. It's the same one I have been trying to make in the Riding safely with children thread.
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Old 03-26-07, 02:04 PM   #8
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I thought the most common outcome was explosion. Maybe I watch too much TV.
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Old 03-26-07, 03:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
What is the most common outcome of a hazardous situation? For example, not being trained in how to undertake a complex and potentially injurious actvity... not having the proper safety equipment... not paying attention... not being sober while doing the activity... etc.

The most common outcome is: NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.

Which lulls people into a sense of complacency. If the activity were so risky that huge percentages of people died doing something, not many would do that activity. But most people act unsafely in some area of their lives, and routinely get away with it.

Until someday, all of the tumblers of the cosmic lock align, and *bang*, they get bit by probability and they fall victim to the risk factors.

This is why it is so hard to talk to people about safety. They just don't get it. They don't see the big picture, they can't reason using statistics, most of what influences their behavior is via direct experience, word of mouth, peer group pressure, or media influence, and they just go along with all of those.
Interesting. But what is this "safety" you talk about? It seems to me that if something were done routinely without incident, then this is the very definition of safety.

Safety measures such as tip guards on chainsaws and helmets on bicycles are not "safety" measures, but rather "mitigation" measures. A tip guard does not prevent the operator from putting the tip of the saw against the ground; it just mitigates the consequence of that incident. Helmets don't make a cyclist less likely to fall down, it just mitigates the consequences of falling.

And statistics have a nasty way of being misused. The most common is using the average rate of some occurance as the probability that this occurance will happen to a single, distinct person. For instance, the statistic of, say, cyclists fall an average of once every 1000 miles (I'm making this up), does not mean that your chances of falling at any certain time is 1/1000. Or that if 1 in 4 children have ADD, that the probabliliy of your child having ADD is 25%.

The thing is, research and book learning needs to be tempered by experience and pushing the limits. It goes the inverse too. Too many times, research and researchers are too uninformed by the "real world" for their research to be of huge value.
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Old 03-26-07, 03:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
That's a really good point. It's the same one I have been trying to make in the Riding safely with children thread.
Well, instead of "trying", how about actually making the point, and make it clear, without bogging it down with anything useless.
Please, do tell, what IS the point. What point were you "trying" to make in that thread that you were unable to make and how does it pertain to this thread?
And what is the point of this thread? How can the most common outcome of a hazardous situation be nothing Helmet Head?
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Old 03-26-07, 06:18 PM   #11
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gee OP, its hard to argue with raw facts and scientific data like that...
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Old 03-27-07, 02:04 PM   #12
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Probability. Introduction to Finite Mathematics, by John Kemeny, covers a lot of fundamentals. Most people just don't think this way.

It can be very useful, though. The commercial aviation industry has used this sort of thinking extensively to increase their safety records. They have a handle on it; they think this way, and do something useful with it. I wish someone would bring more of these sorts of insights into the field of bicycle safety. (Maybe someone can start here?)

In commercial aviation they have applied their intelligence to these issues in rigorous ways, and it has worked. There is no reason some of their approaches can't be transferred to bicycle safety.
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Old 03-27-07, 02:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
I thought the most common outcome was explosion. Maybe I watch too much TV.

You're close. I watch 24, and the most common outcome is a nuclear attack on Los Angeles sponsored by several countries, some rogue terrorists, and supported by a corrupted mole inside CTU. Don't forget the routine assasination of all of the African-American presidents that compound the situation.
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Old 03-27-07, 05:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deputyjones
Sure, everything we do in life is a gamble. A plane could crash into my house right now and kill me, but I haven't built a plane-proof bunker yet to house my family.
Negligence of your family's safety? I'm shocked, shocked, I say!
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Old 03-27-07, 07:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiznaz
The most common outcome of a hazardous situation is us complaining about it on here.
+1
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Old 03-27-07, 10:19 PM   #16
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Control what you can control, ignore the rest and have fun.
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Old 03-27-07, 10:42 PM   #17
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Control what you can control, ignore the rest and have fun.
yup
as someone on here once said
"There is a difference between living life, and avoiding death."
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