The Psychology of the Clash Between Drivers and Cyclists

Excerpts

“Not too long ago, I was riding my bicycle near the corner of 9th and Carpenter behind a motor vehicle, which was behind another motor vehicle, which was behind a bus. No one was moving very fast, as is often the case on South Philadelphia’s narrow streets.  But that didn’t matter to the middle-aged man in the pickup truck behind me. Flustered and in a red-faced rage, he incorrectly told me I was legally required to get out of his way.  Ignoring him at first, I turned my head only when he threatened to violently run me over with his vehicle. I pointed to the car in front of me, and the one in front of that car. “No one’s going anywhere fast,” I said with a shrug.  But that only made him angrier. “I don’t care,” he yelled out the driver’s side window. “I’ll run you down!”  Sound familiar? If you’re a person who rides a bike, it probably does…”

“…[Bad] situations occur because people on bicycles and motor vehicle users are expected to share city streets. And while people on bicycles make mistakes, too, their mistakes don’t have the same potential to hurt other road users like that of a guy in a pick up truck who thinks he’d get to his endpoint two minutes faster if the bicyclist were out of the way…”

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Read:  Unlocking the psychology behind the driver/cyclist clash, from Metro (Philadelphia)

FIA, Motorsports’ Governing Body, Lets Down Safety Standards

July 9, 2017

In Formula 1, by far the world’s most prestigious motorsport, the recent Azerbaijan Grand Prix was marred by an overt display of road rage by four-times World Champion Sebastian Vettel who, in front of millions of spectators around the world, deliberately rammed an opponent’s car, wheel-to-wheel while all of the cars were driving slowly in accordance with — ironically — a temporary, safety speed limit.

Photo of the FIA logo

Having untruthfully claimed that three-times World Champion Louis Hamilton had “brake checked” him  and “caused” him to collide with the rear of Hamilton’s car, Vettel moved up alongside Hamilton and flagrantly turned into him so that Vettel’s front right wheel struck Hamilton’s front left wheel.  In reality, engineering  telematics transmitted by all F1 cars showed beyond any argument that Hamilton had neither braked nor even slowed down, so Vettel’s claim was entirely untrue.

Anyone wishing to view the incident on video can do so on YouTube at the following link, but for copyright purposes I am not prepared to post the actual clip here.   https://youtu.be/Cx4AartWhg4

The spanner in these works, however, lies in the fact that the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (i.e. International Automobile Federation, or FIA) is a huge supporter of global road safety and has established the FIA Foundation for this very purpose.

So, around the world, young motor racing fans, including countless children and young teens, saw one of their sporting idols have what can only be described as an infantile fit of road rage and commit a safety travesty by ramming somebody else’s car, yet Vettel got away with just a ten-second pit lane penalty instead of a much more appropriate ban from one or more races.

The thing is that the FIA had the power to override the race stewards’ decision regarding the punishment even after the event, and impose a ban, but undoubtedly politics — a regular anti-Christ in the sadly lethal world of road safety — won the day because the mega-money businessmen behind motor racing didn’t want to ‘spoil’ the season’s championship battle between who else but Vettel and Hamilton.

I hope and suspect that the team at the FIA Foundation were suitably embarrassed by this ludicrous inaction by their parent body in the face of such an outrageously bad example to all young drivers and future drivers around the world….. Sure! Go ahead!  If you don’t like someone else on the road, just ram them!

Hang your heads, FIA; hang your heads.  This wasn’t worthy of you.

Eddie Wren, CEO & Chief Instructor — Advanced Drivers of North America