Ride and Drive like a fighter pilot

Mlac Peek

Peek pace master
Jun 12, 2012
360
323
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Toda, Saitama
#3
Great article, thanks for posting.

"When passing junctions, look at the head of the driver that is approaching or has stopped. The head of the driver will naturally stop and centre upon you if you have been seen," is some of the best advice out there. It's helped me be ready many times for cars pulling out of junctions with no clue that I'm there.
 
Dec 31, 2009
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Matsumoto
#4
Fighter pilots call this a “lookout scan” and it is vital to their survival. Cool. Also agree with building safety into our roads. This does however make people prone to laziness. For example, looking at a cell phone at a stop light. If we make it too easy, the masses lose their wits. I am all for the random fire jump with an optional roundabout. That will keep the eyes forward.


Well worth the minutes it took to read. Could save my life. I love this kind of info to stack in my cranium. Thanks!
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
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tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#6
As a pilot who trained with alot of old goats who relied mainly on VFR and SOP I can verify this. Surprisingly the Japanese drivers training emphasizes keeping your head on a swivel. Yet - the culture treats this with agnostic disdain. I believe it's this 'see no evil' embedded culture that is the cause of most accidents. Other things they don't mention in the article, which, in my opinion are the paramount attributes of 'fighter pilots' :

1) The 'right stuff'. When your a$$ is puckering and you're about to sign off on the farm, there are at least 5 more things you can do. And you do DO them! Keeping flexible and avoiding 'lockup' under extreme scenarios keeps you alive and able to perform tangible tasks directly related to the situation.

2) An almost laissez faire approach to visual awareness. I don't know how to explain this other than, when things get hot, get lazy. Relax your vision , breathe deep and let your eyes scan more loosely. Not necessarily focusing - but increasing perception to include wider and farther points. That plus keep your head on a swivel will give you more precious milliseconds to spot, avert and act accordingly.

You can / should practice this in paceline especially. Keep your vision relaxed and watch the wheels in front. Waaay in front. You will be able to see the wheel just in front of you with no problem. But vision that is restricted in this way you cannot possibly react quickly to the bunch as a whole.

Same thing with flying - If you try to hover a helicopter in high gusty winds by looking directly in front - you can't do it. Your perception range is too small - but, just by increasing your vision field you can see and sense very minute motions of the machine and repsond more quickly. Same thing holds true with carrier deck landing. Look far ahead on the horizon to ascertain and manage your glide slope - you'll always see the deck and be able to fly the wire to it much easier.

Cornering a bike is same - head up , spot around the corner and even 2 or 3 corners away. Your bike will go where you are looking or plan to put it. But if you are looking too close in front, you cannot generate the necessary trajectory required. Ask any of the gearheads here who run the tracks at 250kph+ on bikes where THEY are looking.

Insane accuracy of motion.
 

Sikochi

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Sep 13, 2010
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68
Kochi
#8
LOL - I forgot that some of our American cousins don't know what a round about is.
My American friend here, calls it a `rotary`. Wouldn`t work here though...
`you go`
`no, you go`
`no, you go`
`no, you go`
both drivers inch forward a fraction
`you go`
`no, you go`
`no, you go`
`no, you go`
repeat ad infinitum...

PS: FarEast, aren`t they driving the wrong way in that photo? UK pics only now!!!
 

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
2,659
477
103
Japan
#9
Good article, i just finished motorbike training at a local driving center as my bike license didn't transfer over to my Japanese license al those years ago. I was taught and firmly believe that behind the drivers wheel is the best place in the lane to ride but the instructors here kept telling me to hang left in the lane. I passed the course but know that I'll be staying out in the right half of the lanes. With my lights on.

My Japanese flatmate in Aus told me that roundabouts wouldnt work in Japan cause it requires judgement and decision making that aren't taught in schools. He cursed the amount of lights in Japan but they do take the above two factors out of the equation.
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
945
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103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#10
Haha! Especially when everyone is averting their gaze so as not to get the 'tell'!! They don't work in the US for exactly the opposite reason - EVERYONE goes as fast as they can through the spinner. Utter mayhem!

Loved riding through these at tempo in the HR - the motos would speed up and in perfect synch stop across all entrance roads then momentarily hold traffic while the bunch hammered through. It took me a few times to not feel I was gonna get hammered by some errant driver, but my ride buddy, Wayne assured me that it was all cool and just go for it! First in has the ROW, so as long as you have a line - they won't jeopardize you.

My American friend here, calls it a `rotary`. Wouldn`t work here though...
`you go`
`no, you go`
`no, you go`
`no, you go`
both drivers inch forward a fraction
`you go`
`no, you go`
`no, you go`
`no, you go`
repeat ad infinitum...

PS: FarEast, aren`t they driving the wrong way in that photo? UK pics only now!!!
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#11
Tim we did exactly the same in the UK for TT's they would use roundabouts for the turn around points - powering through them was bliss!
 

snoogly

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Oct 14, 2007
695
48
48
Machida, Tokyo
#13
Good article, i just finished motorbike training at a local driving center as my bike license didn't transfer over to my Japanese license al those years ago. I was taught and firmly believe that behind the drivers wheel is the best place in the lane to ride but the instructors here kept telling me to hang left in the lane. I passed the course but know that I'll be staying out in the right half of the lanes. With my lights on.

My Japanese flatmate in Aus told me that roundabouts wouldnt work in Japan cause it requires judgement and decision making that aren't taught in schools. He cursed the amount of lights in Japan but they do take the above two factors out of the equation.
Though there is still the important decision to be made as to whether to obey the signals or ignore them ...
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#15
...except about traffic lights in a car, or you may get rear-ended!

When I was still driving more, my wife would often admonish me for stopping when coming up to a yellow traffic light about to turn red, "because other drivers are not expecting you to stop yet." Sure, it will be 2 seconds after my light turning red before the other guys' light will turn green, but I *am* supposed to stop!

Same about stopping for pedestrians at zebra crossings. The police don't enforce the law and bus drivers are just about the only drivers I see stop there.
 

Malte

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Sep 26, 2011
496
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Tokyo
#17
Same about stopping for pedestrians at zebra crossings. The police don't enforce the law and bus drivers are just about the only drivers I see stop there.
Taxis even don't stop for you at zebra crossings when you have a baby-car with you (even though they see you and are far away). I threw my daughter's water bottle after one and they even don't care (he accelerated when I was about to cross and turned onto the opposite lane, passing me with ~70mph (30 allowed) .
 

microcord

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Aug 28, 2012
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Tokyo
#18
I believe that fighter pilots wear helmets.

I've never read any argument not to wear a helmet more convincing than "It messes up my hair". Perhaps in part because I have little interest in my hair, I wear a helmet.

Yesterday I hurriedly bought the current issue of 自転車と旅 (Jitensha to tabi). (If I'd looked more closely, I wouldn't have bought it.) Much of it is an ad for one bike (about which, or about whose older version, we can learn much more in a single web page). And much of the rest turns out to be primarily advertising for elegant persons riding short distances on folding bikes with small wheels -- a variety of brands, but I didn't notice Bike Friday so I infer that they didn't pay the dues -- and visiting elegant cafes on the way.

It runs to 160 pages. P.139 is I think the first of three of the 160 that show anyone wearing a helmet. I presume that an editorial committee decided that helmets would mess up the models' hair or otherwise be incompatible with the general thrust of "buying and displaying one more consumer durable in an effort to look cool".

Outside this publication and in reality, of course even the police don't wear helmets. Bizarre.
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#19
It's probably like it used to be about wearing seat belts on the rear seats of cars or in a taxi: "You don't have to wear them, the law doesn't require it!" is what I often heard when I looked for the buried seat belt in a taxi. Which is utter stupidity: as if the laws of physics cared about man-made laws. The bodies of rear seat passengers travel at the same speed as those of front seat passengers while the car is in motion and will keep travelling at that speed when the car comes to a sudden stop. The only difference is that non-belted front seat passengers are going to depart the car via the windscreen or have their chest crushed by the steering wheel, while rear seat passengers will become missiles attacking belted-up front seat passengers.

And while we're talking about helmets: My motorcycle-riding friends from Germany were amazed how common helmets other than the full face type still are in Japan. Regulations must be quite lax here.

I've also seen quite a few people wearing a motorcycle or bicycle helmet like a hat, with the chin strap undone. Right, as if that's going to do you a lot of good when you get thrown off your motorbike or bicycle! But I guess the idea is, it satisfies the legal requirement (or school rule) to wear a helmet. The helmet still protects from the threat of police writing you a ticket! Too many people seem to think that the main purpose of belting up or wearing a helmet is to avoid getting a ticket for not doing so, which is ludicrous.

Rules in themselves are no substitute for explaining the need for the particular rule. To me it has always been far more convincing to understand that hitting a stationary object at 36 km/h is equivalent to falling from a height of 5 m than any knowledge of how much I had to pay if a police officer stopped me while not wearing a seat belt. The same goes for the protective effects of helmets, but such safety education doesn't seem to be a priority here.
 

microcord

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Aug 28, 2012
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Tokyo
#20
Well, yes.

But what puzzles me is that a magazine (or mook, or whatever this silly thing is) would have a no-helmet policy. After all, from the most cynical PoV, helmets are more crap that people have to buy, so talking them up would tend to generate more advertising revenue. (There's a huge potential market in inherently pointless fashions in helmet zigzags and the rest.) Plus pushing helmets could generate yet more "editorial" fluff about how to have your tresses survive the indignity of a helmet -- with extra advertising from Shiseido, Pola, Kracie and the rest hinting at (but never claiming!) the helmet-pressure-resisting attributes of their shampoos and conditioners.

And the police, FFS. "Helmets for your kids, preferably for you, but never for us." Yes, maybe police heads are exempt from the laws of physics.