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Old 05-16-11, 01:16 PM   #1
tjspiel
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Wouldn't it be cool if Driver's test courses had...

Wouldn't it be cool if Driver's test courses had bike lanes with mechanical foam/rubber cyclists moving through them. I wonder how many would get hooked?

I was hit in a bike lane once. The all too common: "OMG I'm sorry. I never saw you!" statement was the first thing I heard from the driver.

The way I was trained as a driver didn't prepare me at all for dealing with bike lanes either. Of course that was 30 years ago.

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Old 05-16-11, 01:25 PM   #2
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Wouldn't it be cool if Driver's test courses had bike lanes with mechanical foam/rubber cyclists moving through them. I wonder how many would get hooked?

I was hit in a bike lane once. The all too common: "OMG I'm sorry. I never saw you!" statement was the first thing I heard from the driver.

The way I was trained as a driver didn't prepare me at all for dealing with bike lanes either. Of course that was 30 years ago.
The question is more like: "I wonder how many will not get hooked?"

I do recall back in Driver's Ed, the course did cover basic like bike lanes and there were even cyclist in those simulators in Driver's Training. That was back in the Stone Age. Now with all the cutback and such, I don't think many school has those anymore, or do they?
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Old 05-16-11, 01:33 PM   #3
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The question is more like: "I wonder how many will not get hooked?"

I do recall back in Driver's Ed, the course did cover basic like bike lanes and there were even cyclist in those simulators in Driver's Training. That was back in the Stone Age. Now with all the cutback and such, I don't think many school has those anymore, or do they?
You had simulators? Maybe they all do now. I suddenly feel really old.
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Old 05-16-11, 01:37 PM   #4
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I think all written driver's tests should involve questions related to cyclists on the road or bike lanes and how to react to them.
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Old 05-16-11, 01:42 PM   #5
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I think all written driver's tests should involve questions related to cyclists on the road or bike lanes and how to react to them.
Questions on tests are great, but I'm more interested in what a nervous 16 year old does when a driver's test instructor tells them to take a right at the next intersection. Do they remember to check the bike lane before moving over?
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Old 05-16-11, 01:43 PM   #6
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You had simulators? Maybe they all do now. I suddenly feel really old.
I think we're about close to the same age. I took my Driver training course back in the 80's. We had like 30 sit down cockpit with steering wheel, brakes and everything like a real dashboard minus a 8 track radio. There was a film projector playing on the screen and we were suppose to simulate driving with all kinds of scenerio like ped jumping out of crosswalk, 18 wheeler running red lights and cyclist coming out of nowhere. The cockpit were tie to a control panel that recorded all the mistakes. Back then it was consider high tech stuff.

That stuff I had really taught me a lot. Nowadays, I doubt they have those which I think will be good.
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Old 05-16-11, 01:46 PM   #7
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I think we're about close to the same age. I took my Driver training course back in the 80's. We had like 30 sit down cockpit with steering wheel, brakes and everything like a real dashboard minus a 8 track radio. There was a film projector playing on the screen and we were suppose to simulate driving with all kinds of scenerio like ped jumping out of crosswalk, 18 wheeler running red lights and cyclist coming out of nowhere. The cockpit were tie to a control panel that recorded all the mistakes. Back then it was consider high tech stuff.

That stuff I had really taught me a lot. Nowadays, I doubt they have those which I think will be good.
Neat. I took my lessons in the 80s also, and my training was limited to driving a clunky Dodge Diplomat.

Anyway, I wish knowing how to ride a bike on the streets were necessary to get a drivers license. It would add new perspective.
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Old 05-16-11, 01:48 PM   #8
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I don't think I had any instruction about how to deal with bike lanes at all.
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Old 05-16-11, 02:08 PM   #9
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I was hit in a bike lane once. The all too common: "OMG I'm sorry. I never saw you!" statement was the first thing I heard from the driver.
https://midatlantic.aaa.com/DrivingP...edDrivingVideo

We need something like this in driver's ed. The basic technical skills are important to drill in; but the actual "collision avoidance" is the application of such techniques in an overall strategy. They teach you threshold braking, they put you in slaloms to teach you how the vehicle dynamic works, how to load and unload your suspension effectively without spinning or skidding out, how to recover from skids ... then you do collision avoidance, where stuff appears in your way and you have to somehow get out of the way.

It's all well and good that you have now mastered ultimate control over your car; but you first have to recognize that something is in your way, and second have somewhere to go to avoid it if you simply cannot brake fast enough. That means you need to know what's around you at all times--a core driving skill. "I never saw you" means you weren't paying attention; and even if you didn't, you should have spotted your outs well in advance and been able to pull off a lane toss or threshold brake as a flinch reaction to seeing something suddenly enter your vehicular path.

Why we don't teach this stuff standard I'll never know. There should be a race course with obstacles behind the DMV, which you're required to lap 3 or 4 times as stuff occasionally jumps out in front of you. Parked cars with blow-up dolls inside, inflate/deflate randomly so you start recognizing people in cars, recognize lights turning off as you approach maybe, doors popping open ... the doors are cardboard and can be blown off by impact relatively safely. Hell, the whole side is a cardboard cut-out that can open a door or just pull out without warning and jump in your way.

But that'll never happen. It happens in real life constantly, though. One trip on a Saturday, 15 miles, 60mph on the highway, 30-40mph in the city, and I had to dodge and twitch-brake (from the throttle!) 7 or 8 times, in the rain! These people pull out into mid-street turnabouts in the rain! They're suddenly a good 10 meters away and in my way and I need to brake almost instantly and find somewhere safe to go! Also, of course, crazy people trying to make their exit from the fourth lane over in 15-20 meters, straight across heavy traffic. You'd think it'd only be particularly heart-stopping at 20-40mph over the speed limit, but nah... you can be traveling the legal speed and people will find a way to almost buy you a new car at least once every 2-3 miles. People running red lights too, or turning when you're too close (I've skid my car between two actively turning cars in the rain at the speed limit when I had green at a traffic light; I did not play that much Frogger as a kid, I'm not trained for this).

It was somewhat unnerving when I started to bike ride. It was somewhat unnerving when I rid myself of the automatic transmission and got a stick shift (I have problems with automatics; it makes driving way too difficult since the car has discretion over what it actually does when I hit one of the two buttons marked "GO" or "STOP" and I am not zoning out while driving). Overall I find the number of drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists that are in my way mildly annoying, as I could get to my destination much quicker if they were all gone; however, I find the frequency with which drivers and cyclists put themselves in my way suddenly and with very little margin for error on my part appalling, which is why I want stricter traffic laws and better driver's education.

Pedestrians somehow don't usually jump in front of cars, though it's happened a few times, occasionally even while they're staring me down and don't hesitate to walk in front of my car; apparently some people believe that you'll stop by virtue of it being a Very Bad Thing if you murder them with your car... these people will learn one day that wet roads make such stops physically impossible, and inattentive drivers on cell phones are just stupid. Fortunately, when I see pedestrians, my focus shifts into "prepare to brake" mode, and I am consciously planning a sudden stop, even going so far as to reduce my speed to make such a stop feasible.

I can deal with traffic jams and slow drivers; I can also deal with frequently taking on the role of an amateur stunt car driver, but I sure as hell don't like it. The stuff I pull off in my car sometimes is truly awesome; the conditions that force me to do that stuff are not. If we could all agree to limit my vehicular ninjary to invisible patches of ice I would be much happier; unfortunately, people seem to want to die, otherwise they wouldn't try to gun their way through a turn when I'm right freaking there or run red lights at night on bicycles with dark clothing and no reflectors or lights.

I hear it's better in Europe.
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Old 05-16-11, 02:08 PM   #10
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I don't feel it is the new drivers you have to worry about. They tend to be extra cautious and safety conscious. However given a few months and everything you learned gets replaced by doing what everyone else is doing.

When I drive I signal and follow the speed limit. I sometimes enjoy looking in the rear view mirror seeing all the angry drivers cursing and tailgating me .
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Old 05-16-11, 02:29 PM   #11
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When I drive I signal and follow the speed limit. I sometimes enjoy looking in the rear view mirror seeing all the angry drivers cursing and tailgating me .
And it gets even better after they race past you, hopping back and forth between lanes and after a couple of miles of that, you pull up next to them at the same red light.
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Old 05-16-11, 02:46 PM   #12
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I don't feel it is the new drivers you have to worry about. They tend to be extra cautious and safety conscious. However given a few months and everything you learned gets replaced by doing what everyone else is doing.
No, you get the new drivers outside their homeostatic reaction to stress, learning their reflexes, with a proper stress reaction to take it easy. They develop and become more comfortable, just like how I used to go 10mph down hill on a bike and now I go 18-20, and some people go 35-45.

Once they reach their comfort zone, the stupidity kicks in. It doesn't matter that they can't handle things like skidding around curves or racing through side streets; that nothing bad ever happened gives them a comfortable feeling about it, even though something bad will happen one day.

I don't drive the speed limit; I drive the nominal speed or the reasonable safe speed, whichever is lower. If traffic is moving faster than the speed limit, I go with traffic flow to avoid creating an unsafe situation with queuing cars and angry drivers making dangerous maneuvers to pass me. If they're going insanely fast, I either exit that lane or make them wait; screw that, I'm not racing down the highway at 100mph in semi-dense traffic in the rain, that's just ********. Plus the speed limit for the highway is 60mph for a reason; 70-80 is usually fine, 100 is not, and even on parts of 83 I won't do above 70 because it's a crazy serpentine course that will hurl your car violently if you start to skid in the least. If people want to go that fast, I'll find another lane; if I'm in the far right lane, they can wait or move into a more leftward lane.

Speed limits are placed low for the road; but what people fail to realize is they also account for other conditions. For example, a 40mph limit urban sprawl road, double lane, surrounded by planes and graveyards, low foot traffic and low traffic, no intersections, is safe at 60mph. A 25mph side street that's decently wide, nice and straight, and navigable at 40mph is not safe above 25mph; I tend to travel these at 20mph, sometimes slower. Why? Because pedestrians, car doors, and sidewalk cyclists can suddenly appear out of nowhere due to visual obstructions. I need minimal stopping distance, and even if I had somewhere to go (i.e. a 2 lane street) it'd be non-ideal. It's not just the chance of suddenly finding a pedestrian in my way: pedestrians are in a much more comfortable light residential zone, and expect the street to be a place they can freely walk and play. In a denser city, they will be looking for more traffic, meaning traffic can go faster; even though there's more pedestrians, they're less likely to enter the street unsafely.

People do not realize this. They either travel as fast as they feel they can go, or they try to take the high ground and stick strictly to the speed limit. These are both dangerous. The speed limit is a guideline: exceed it if it's not safe to maintain it (i.e. traffic flow causes an unsafe situation if you travel slowly), but only approach it if it's not safe to actually travel at that speed (in the rain, in residential areas, etc). It is not a cardinal sin to travel below the speed limit when reasonable; nor is it wrong or inherently dangerous to travel above the speed limit when traffic flow dictates. These things must be judged by all factors, including road traffic (cars, cyclists) and pedestrian traffic, road topology, visibility, road conditions (weather, wear), the condition of your vehicle (tires, maintenance), and your abilities as a driver; most people ignore at least half of these, and overestimate their abilities as drivers.

It's often stated (see Bruce Schneier) that most people fear the ridiculously low chances of their death in an airplane crash caused by terrorists; but completely ignore the risks they take while driving. People have a large amount of control over this risk, however, and we could greatly reduce it (by some degree) by improved driver's education; people actually practicing good road skills (especially good judgment) would drive effectively (not timidly) and yet reduce this risk by 90% or more. Improved education does not equate to improved driver behavior, but it is a large step forward. Simplified laws and strict enforcement of laws would also help, which is why I'm often a proponent of just throwing out what we have and sucking it up while we directly graft Germany's vehicle laws onto our society, signage and all; there will be pain, but who cares?
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Old 05-16-11, 03:40 PM   #13
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I had no idea there was even such a thing as a driving simulator.

I grew up on a farm and honestly, I was driving loaded 10 ton grain trucks at age 15. The instructor that picked me up knew the score. He pulled in the driveway, moved to the passenger seat, I got in, he said "get on the expressway and head south." That was the extent of the training the instructor gave me. By then of course I'd been driving pickups (manual transmission with a heavy clutch and 3 speed on the tree)for probably 3 years, and tractors (including on the roads, where a license isn't necessary for transporting farm equipment) since I was 9.
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Old 05-16-11, 03:52 PM   #14
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This is an excellent idea.
But perhaps we should start with the basics before moving on to more complicated matters.
I advocate a new question on the written exam that asks the new driver "Are bicycles allowed on the road?"
T or F....
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Old 05-16-11, 04:48 PM   #15
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This is an excellent idea.
But perhaps we should start with the basics before moving on to more complicated matters.
I advocate a new question on the written exam that asks the new driver "Are bicycles allowed on the road?"
T or F....
Which road? Are we talking about interstates? Depending on the road the answer could be either T or F . Oh man I just failed. Thank goodness I already got my license. I would have probably have failed your test MNBikeguy .
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Old 05-16-11, 05:04 PM   #16
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Which road? Are we talking about interstates? Depending on the road the answer could be either T or F . Oh man I just failed. Thank goodness I already got my license. I would have probably have failed your test MNBikeguy .
Doh! I forgot about interstates! My test question failed!
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Old 05-16-11, 05:57 PM   #17
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I'm a bit disturbed by the concept of the 80's being considered "the stone age"...
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Old 05-16-11, 06:03 PM   #18
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What would be cool is that "Ooops, I didn't see you!" was not accepted by cops and courts as an explanation. You got a driver's license? You're required by law to see what's going on around your vehicle. You didn't see? You're at fault. End of story.
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Old 05-17-11, 02:56 PM   #19
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My suspicion is you could add all you want to drivers ed, and it wouldn't do much for the real world driving of teens. I have one licensed teenage driver, one with a learner's permit and one more getting all too close for comfort, as well as contact with lots of HS age drivers.

My experience is that they just don't have the mental skills necessary to process all the information around them, whether bicycle, emergency vehicle, or erratic driver of large SUV. They tend to have tunnel vision, an inability to anticipate and prioritize the likely moves of those around them, and an inadequate view of how much they need to think, see and react. I will also note that I think my oldest is a pretty decent driver, by teenage standards.

I suspect the BEST thing we could do for teenagers is require them to spend 6-12 months as vehicular cyclists (minimum of 40?50? hours of certified time on the roads) before qualifying for learner's permits for cars. On a bike in traffic, you are confronted with most of the same issues, but they come at you more slowly (from your perspective). It would also greatly increase the number of cyclists and cyclists that people care about... you know your neighbors care more about their offspring than they do about a bunch of crazy/lazy/drunkard/immigrant/hipster cyclists (add stereotypes to suit your locale).

It will never happen, but I can dream.
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Old 05-17-11, 03:14 PM   #20
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Yeah, that would be cool. haha.

i think everyone forgot they have mirrors or how to turn their heads
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Old 05-17-11, 09:45 PM   #21
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I hear it's better in Europe.
It is. Well, it is in Germany, at least, where I felt safer driving flat-out in a Ford Transit (its diesel 4cyl huffed it along at a blistering 95 mph) in the far right lane on the Autobahn than I ever have on the beltway here.
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Old 05-17-11, 10:00 PM   #22
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I'd settle for a test of ANY real-world driving skills.

I remember taking a motorcycle training class years ago. There was a woman who could not, after several attempts, complete the emergency stop test because she was too scared to reach the required 20 or 25mph speed. She still passed the class and was eligible for her license.
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Old 05-17-11, 11:21 PM   #23
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By and large driving tests are appropriate for the jurisdiction in which they are given.
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Old 05-18-11, 03:22 AM   #24
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When I took lessons for my licese, just under three years ago, I was taught the following rule: "Never overtake a car or motorcycle if the divider line is continuous, the exception being a bicycle. You can always overtake bicycles, even in one-way-one-lane roads." - no wonder so many cyclists get killed. No wonder I get honked at on a daily basis, and even had an accident last week.
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