Research Reveals The Role Of Faulty Perception In Motorcycle Accidents

Posted on December 5, 2013

New research has come out that relates how many motorcycle accidents could be the result of the brain inaccurately responding to visual cues in the road environment.  By understanding this, safety campaigns and future research efforts may be enacted that could reduce this potential threat.

The study hails from researchers at Texas Tech’s Human Factors Psychology Program, and the results are featured in Current Directions in Psychological Science.  To reach these results, study participants were asked to keep their eyes trained on a couple of items that moving toward them.  The participants were asked which of the two different-sized items was going to get to them more quickly.

Interestingly, regardless of the actual speed, the participants tended to come to the conclusion that the larger item was going to reach them faster.

Now, extrapolate this outward to how drivers may view motorcyclists they’re sharing the road with.  Although a larger automobile may be further away, a driver could be more inclined to react to that vehicle, even if that comes at the cost of an appropriate reaction to a motorcycle that could be closer by.  This may be one reason why intersections are so dangerous for motorcycles.

Although this may be a hard habit to break, it speaks to the importance of giving motorcyclists ample room.  Making a turn in front of such a vehicle should never be chanced if there is even the slightest doubt about one’s ability to make it through a turn without causing a collision.

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