None of Us Are Too Smart

One of my favorite books and podcasts is You Are Not So Smart (YANSS). In episode 1 of the podcast, “The Invisible Gorilla,” at about 9 minutes, Daniel Simmons discusses the “inattentional blindness” issue and directly relates it to why so many cagers do not see motorcyclists.

Especially during these years of Trump-insanity I’ve been distracted and fascinated by how poorly human brains work and how distant we actually are from the “rational animal” we pretend to be. YANSS is a wealth of information about those defective, funky, weird things that mostly reside between our ears. Since safe motorcycling is mostly a skill of the mind, rather than a physical skill of magical and mythical “muscle memory,” figuring out how our minds function or fail to function is a lot more important to those of us one two wheels than it is to cagers or mass transit commuters.

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3 Responses to None of Us Are Too Smart

  1. Tim Long says:

    My goodness, GwaG,
    Your observations about drivers’ attention (or dys-attention) caught me mid-elevensies this morning, and the “You Are Not So Smart” discussions are just validating much of my experience, both long-term and recent. I’ve been fortunate for the past two months to be without automobile (the 145’s “modern” Bosch K injection decided to retire; the less modern SU sidedrafts are in the process of replacing all that modernity), and have been solely on the old Raleigh DL-1, or the old Bonneville 650. As a two-wheeler, getting some ten-ish miles a day going around, I observe the fascination of at least one out of four drivers with the thing grafted to their hand which must be answered, whilst driving, or its counterpart: the ever-more fascinating telescreens mid-dash on all better cages. Orwellian reference intended. One cannot, or, at least I cannot dare assume that the drivers will even give me a nodding acknowledgement of existence, much less right-of-way within the established rules of the roadways. Except for occasional moments of warm bemusement that I’m traveling via a piece of equipment older than most of them, sometimes by a factor of two, I fail to exist in the same atmosphere as the very large, very insulated machines everyone must have in these days.

    Thanks for the link to Mr. McRaney’s observations. I will certainly share that with my fellow Gentleman Cyclists, and gain some further insight and validation, as a freshman curmudgeon, for the observations therein.

    Tim L, just up the hill from Lock 15

    PS: love your site

    • For the years I taught the MSF classes for the Minnesota program, most instructors told students that “everyone is out to get you.” I have always thought that is paranoid and useless information. If they were aggressively “out to get” us, we could devise a plan of defense or even offense (like the loud pipe myth). If they don’t even notice our existence, a completely different plan is necessary and I will always recommend “ride like you are invisible.” It is, at least, more realistic.

      • Tim Long says:

        Thanks, I do find it prudent to assume I am, indeed, invisible, unless I get eye contact with a driver on an intersecting path. Which, if there’s time, is more often than I thought, when on two wheels, and I’m looking directly at the driver, my vehicular image is different than what usually meanders in and out of their driving experience. By the way, thanks for the lead to the “You are not so smart” series of discussions!
        Just up the hill from Lock 15

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