Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Kid cyclists - too safety-conscious?

You've heard of flight simulators and even car simulators. The University of Iowa has a bike simulator! It "immerses bicycle riders in a city-scape" - three large projector screens at right angles, and the rider seems to be moving down the street as he pedals.

Yeah, I'd like to try that! I've heard of the little bike-race or scenery videos that you can put on your TV and pretend you're ridin' the Tour de France to enhance your indoor exercise-bike experience... that has no appeal to me, but the widescreen simulator would be cool!

They are using the bike simulator to study the behavior of bike-riding kids, to determine if accidents could be reduced among that vulnerable group.

What kids kids tend to do is... they ride up to the intersection and conscientiously look both ways, but when they see an opening that adult cyclists breeze right through, the kids hesitate momentarily. And a half-second delay can mean the difference between making it through the intersection or not.

The simulator guy: “One thing we’ve been able to pinpoint is that kids, even at these older ages [10-14], when you put them in a fairly challenging traffic situation, are not coordinating their movements with the traffic as well as the adults are.”

When I ride with my granddaughter, she puts her total confidence in me. The standard procedure when we stop at an intersection is... when I make the determination that it's safe, I say "Go!" and she goes! It's a huge responsibility, and we've never had a problem. The brain is far more sophisticated than any man-made computer, and it probably helps to have 50 years' worth of data stored in there somehow, rather than 6 months' worth that you are weighing along with parents' stern admoniitions to "be careful."

Article HERE.

1 comment:

Tor Hershman said...

Bike Nazi/Soup Nazi
:-)