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Safety First: “Motorcyclists Are Often Seen But Not Remembered”


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Nov 11, 2011
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Why Drivers Often Say They Didn’t See You​

A report from The Daily Echo has the low-down on what causes accidents when motorcycles are involved – and believe it or not, the phrase “I just didn’t see them officer” may be more true than you think.

PhD Researcher Shel Silva, is the mastermind behind a project in partnership with Bournemouth University and Dorset-based DocBike. In the project, all parties set out to do some top-notch work in the area of collisions and injury prevention – and when it came to statistics on road vision, they found different motorists were seeing different things.


Confused? We were too. Just sit back and give this a skim, because it kind of makes sense.

A view of motorists acknowledging each other

Source: ForCarDrivers

According to this project, there are a couple of factors at play:
“The brain has developed an interest in things which are threats,” explains the report.

“Historically this was large objects or animals. Nowadays, this would be buses and lorries and not small motorcycles.”

“Consequently, a motorcycle can easily be lost within the visual field – especially if there is a large vehicle immediately behind the motorcycle.”

A view of a motorcycle helmet on the road

Source: Maho-prentice

We kind of knew that already, but there’s more – the research has also found evidence of ‘looked but failed to remember’ errors.

To some drivers, motorcycles are often seen but not remembered – and there’s not much that can be done about it..even if you’re in that car and you’re paying attention – even if you have your danger filter on manual – your brain could still automatically dismiss something small like a Yamaha R3 or Honda Grom as less big, less threatening, less dangerous.

It’s a humbling thought, but one that could save lives – and according to Silva, the assessed neurological and cognitive influences of motorcyclists and car drivers is vital to the world of transport.

A view of a motorcyclist on a bridge in traffic

Source: ABC7 News

“By understanding motorcyclists’ knowledge and identification of risks, it is possible to better inform training and materials which appeal to motorcyclists,” she explains.

“I know friends and people who have died or suffered life-changing injuries after being in motorcycle collisions. This research is really important to me and having the opportunity to help save motorcyclists’ lives is a personal honor.”

A view of a motorcycle and a few others under clouds and a blue sky

Source: How Stuff Works

We look forward to seeing more results from Silva’s project – who knows. Maybe technology’s newest machines such as Honda’s ‘Intelligent Driver Assistive Technology’ would help our human brains stay up-to-date on the fast-changing automotive and Powersports industry.

What do you think? Drop a comment below, we love hearing from you.

Be sure to also stay up to date via our newsletter, and as always – stay safe on the twisties.

*Title media sourced from Your Health Matters*​

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Feb 28, 2019
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Thank you for the info. It may save someone. My moto is "everyone is trying to run me over". It may have allowed me to be here today. Stay safe all