Sunday, January 17, 2010

Who's That Clown on the Unicycle?

I heard about an interesting (and actually quite alarming) study out of Western Washington University in Bellingham Washington by cognitive psychologist Ira Hyman.  Professor Hyman was studying the impact that multitasking has on our ability to drive, walk and work behind a desk.  In one experiment, Professor Hyman had one of his students dress up as a clown and unicycle around a central square on campus.

What the good professor found was that about half the people walking in the square by themselves saw the clown, and the number was slightly higher for pairs.  I guess we'd call this the control group.  However, only 25% of people yapping on a cell phone said they saw the clown.

So what does this mean for you?  Well, for one thing, you can leave the clown suit in your closet and forget about wearing it on your next ride.  What you could do, though, is pick up the phone and call your State Rep or Senator to tell tell them we need legislation here in Massachusetts to protect cyclists and pedestrians from distracted drivers.

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