Risk Appetite vs Risk Perception

A wee incident on the ride into work this morning got me thinking. Has my IAM training altered my risk appetite or my perception of risk?

The incident itself was nothing too dramatic – I was filtering through traffic in Edinburgh, coming in on the A90 Hillhouse Road between the two lanes of traffic, and for about a mile there had been a blue and white sports bike behind me. As I approached a car in lane one I could see a bicycle ahead of the car. Anticipating that the car may move out to get around the bicycle, I had space in lane two, and could give the car a wide berth before it reached the cyclist. Just after I got past the car and the bicycle the bike behind me came up my inside at full belt – to acheive that he must had passed the car as it was passing the cyclist. Lucky for him, the car didn’t suddenly swerve around the bicycle, or the bike would have had nowhere to go.

That got me thinking – yes, I have fun on the bike, yes, I like to filter and make progress, but I also TRY to minimise the risk by assessing what’s up ahead and anticipating problems – did this rider have no idea the bicycle was ahead of the car he was overtaking?? OR – Is it simply that I don’t like taking risks and he does? Maybe the rider saw the bicycle and decided in that instant to risk the overtake, and sod the consequences…??

I bet if you could ask him now he’d say he’d done nothing wrong….?

I was talking to a guy from Edinburgh a few months back – he was (still is?) doing his IAM training – he started it after he overtook a line of cars, at full belt, and one of the cars in the line pulled out to overtake the vehicles ahead – straight into the path of the bike – wham! He admits, at the time he saw nothing wrong with the manoeuvre – didn’t perceive it as a risk – so now doing his IAM his ‘risk appetite’ hasn’t altered, but his appraisal of situations has, and he now recognises potential risks where he never saw them before.

I like a little danger.. I just prefer it to not involve the random actions of other drivers… I’d rather challenge myself in the twisties…. At least then I’ll only come to grief if I’m the one making the mistake.

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