You Might Not Actually “See” the Motorcycle
We have all heard the tragic stories of a crash between a motorcycle and a larger vehicle that ended with the cyclist being paralyzed or killed. Typically when the driver of the larger vehicle is interview the only answer they give is the fact they didn’t “see” the person on the motorcycle, which actually could be true. As bad as the driver of the larger vehicle may feel, they only can see what their eyes and the picture in their mind allows them to see, which can be only a small portion of the actual visual field around them.
How is it possible your eyes may not see the rider on the motorcycle, even when they are right in front of you? The reason for this is the pictures your mind sees and puts together are amazing, but not perfect. Your eyes aren’t really the best cameras for vision, even though we think they are. Your eyes are constantly moving and taking views of the world around you which your brain puts together to create your vision. This is why the view looks so clear, but actually your eyes have a blind spot right in the center of your vision.
Another reason this blindness to a rider on the motorcycle can take place is the visual memory of the area. If you look at an intersection, look away and then look back your brain doesn’t expect there to be any changes. In fact your brain can delete part of the visual field around you as information not needed. If a motorcycle were traveling directly toward you the profile can be small enough that your brain will delete this vision until the bike is much closer to you and coming across your field of vision.
Because we live in worlds that are typically familiar to us our brains already have a view of the area and changes can end up not being picked up until the last minute. With the slight profile and the speed a motorcycle can travel your eyes could miss the bike until it’s too late, which puts credence to the idea that the driver of an SUV or larger vehicle just didn’t “see” the motorcycle at all. Thankfully there is a way you can help your vision become better in order to be more aware of what comes into your visual field by training your mind to pick up on the smaller elements, even in a familiar setting.
In order to improve what your brain captures for your vision you have to constantly and intentionally move your eyes around. Work to notice smaller elements even in a familiar setting and you will be more likely to pick up on the details more than you have in the past. This is a great way for you to be able to avoid not seeing a motorcycle that is heading toward you which you normally would not have seen until they were directly upon you. Improve what your brain captures for you and help keep more motorcycle riders safe.