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Start Seeing Motorcycles Easier On The Road

One of the biggest complaints from motorcycle riders is that other motorists don’t watch out for them.  There is a new theory as to why some drivers don’t “see” the oncoming motorcycles.

Motion-Induced Blindness.  Simply put, motion-induced blindness is a phenomenon in which the brain discards information instead of registering information.  Allow the following image to illustrate:  keep your eyes on the center dot, and notice what happens to the three dots on the surrounding the center dot

Motion Induced Blindness (Reddit)
Motion Induced Blindness Demonstration (Reddit)

One of the theories of why motorists don’t notice motorcycles is that our brains are trained to see things that pose a threat:  trucks, cars, animals, etc; but our brain disregards items that do not pose a threat: lamp posts, street signs, trees, etc.

A possible remedy to this problem is to remember to always shift your eyes while driving.  Don’t concentrate on the brake lights of the vehicle in front of you, don’t concentrate on the traffic light, don’t concentrate on the 50% off sale billboard on the side of the highway; be aware of all of them, but don’t concentrate on any ONE thing.  Always shift your eyes, but again, not to the point of failing to pay attention.

One of the ‘tactics’ I was taught during while I was in the military involved “scanning the scene” in a grid pattern.  While scanning the sky for aircraft, we were taught to scan in the shape of a castle wall:  left to right, then up, then right, then down, then right, then up, etc.  Of course, driving is much different from scanning the sky while motionless; while driving, your scan should include the whole road, from shoulder-to-shoulder, and it should also include your mirrors.

Summertime is upon us, and many more motorcycles will be out on the roads.  If you are like me, you have several friends who own/ride, and you want to make certain that they are safe on the road.  Ask any of the members of the Cajun HOG Chapter what their biggest concern is while on the road; I think that it will be a resounding “other drivers”.

If you are always aware of your surroundings, and you don’t keep your eyes or brain “fixed” on any particular object, your odds of seeing (almost) everything will increase.  Let’s just hope that motorcycles are included.  Watch for motorcycles.

(Via Wiki and Reddit)

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