Man, this is a great paper. I like this:
Similarly, cooperative interactions between cyclists and motorists occur much more often than conflicts, yet it is much easier to recall instances of conflicts than instances of cooperation. Thus, many cyclists feel that conflicts are more more frequent in traffic than are cooperative interactions.
R appears in the third-letter position of
more English words than in the first-letter position, yet it is much easier to recall words
that begin with "R" than words whose third letter is "R". Thus, a majority of respondents
guess that words beginning with "R" are more frequent, when the reverse is the case.
So, the bias to think conflicts are much more frequent than they actually are, affects the cyclist estimate of his risk in traffic.
Biases implicit in the availability heuristic affect estimates of risk.
Unbelievable. I'm reading and commenting as I go along. This is the next sentence:
However, asked to quantify risks more precisely, people severely overestimate In cycling, cyclists severely overestimate the frequency of cyclist-hit-from-behind deaths, and severely underestimate the frequency of deaths caused by cross-traffic collisions. And, based on observations, they ride accordingly.
the frequency of rare causes of death, and severely underestimate the frequency of
common causes of death.
Wow, this gets better and better:
And for the same reasons, risks of total economic collapse in America may tend to be underestimated since, Americans have never yet encountered total economic collapse (hence the lack of caution when it comes to employing socialist solutions to address social ills).
Risks of human extinction may tend to be underestimated since, obviously, humanity has
never yet encountered an extinction event.2
This is great insight too:
I think this applies in instances where a truck driver failed to notice a cyclist who pulled up and stopped in the blind spot next to his front right wheel before turning right.
Viewing history through the lens of hindsight, we vastly underestimate the cost of
preventing catastrophe. In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded for reasons
eventually traced to an O-ring losing flexibility at low temperature. (Rogers et. al. 1986.)
There were warning signs of a problem with the O-rings. But preventing the Challenger
disaster would have required, not attending to the problem with the O-rings, but attending
to every warning sign which seemed as severe as the O-ring problem, without benefit of
Some VC objectors (e.g., ILTB) try to accuse vehicular cyclists of falling victim to the black swan:
Black Swans are an especially difficult version of the problem of the fat tails: sometimes most of the variance in a process comes from exceptionally rare, exceptionally huge events.This is essentially what is argued when one claims that while VC might reduce the likelihood of certain types of crashes, it increases the likelihood of the black swan: being hit from behind. Of course, vehicular cycling advocates respond by arguing that being hit from behind is actually less likely with VC too.
This is simply awesome:
Because of hindsight bias, we learn overly specific lessons. After September 11th, the U.S. Of course, "do what you can to prepare for the unanticipated" is what "following the rules simply for the sake of following the rules" is all about, and not just in vehicular cycling. Indeed, it is why these rules are created in the first place.
Federal Aviation Administration prohibited box-cutters on airplanes. The hindsight bias
rendered the event too predictable in retrospect, permitting the angry victims to find it the
result of 'negligence' - such as intelligence agencies' failure to distinguish warnings of Al
Qaeda activity amid a thousand other warnings. We learned not to allow hijacked planes
to overfly our cities. We did not learn the lesson: "Black Swans occur; do what you can to
prepare for the unanticipated."
And this is what vehicular cyclists are up against, and probably explains better than anything else why there is so much animosity in response to it:
It is difficult to motivate people in the prevention of Black Swans... Prevention is not easily After all, vehicular cycling amounts to little more than a set of "preventive measures".
perceived, measured, or rewarded; it is generally a silent and thankless activity. Just
consider that a costly measure is taken to stave off such an event. One can easily compute
the costs while the results are hard to determine. How can one tell its effectiveness,
whether the measure was successful or if it just coincided with no particular accident? ...
Job performance assessments in these matters are not just tricky, but may be biased in
favor of the observed "acts of heroism". History books do not account for heroic
That's as far as I've gotten so far, but definitely saving this. Awesome stuff!