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Old 05-13-2013, 02:28 PM   #63
High Country Herb
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Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Western Sierras
Oddometer: 9,423
Have any of you guys read Proficient Motorcycling? That author is considered to be an expert in motorcycle safety, and he talks about this phenomenon of drivers not seeing what they are looking at. I don't remember if he called it SMIDSY or whatever, but it does happen. A person, even one who is paying attention, can overlook a motorcycle if they do not expect to see it. Call it a lapse in consciousness, trick of the eye, happens.

He discussed studies that show a few things that awake the brain, and cause the object to be recognized:
1. Triangle shaped set of lights. A single light can be interpreted by the brain as a headlight of a car peeking out from behind another. The triangle stands out.
2. Variations in color. Groups of white lights can be interpreted as multiple cars in the distance. 2 yellow lights down low, below a white headlight, makes the brain do a double take.
3. Headlight movement. This is why headlight and taillight modulators were invented.

There could have been other factors that contributed to this particular fatality. Maybe the guy's brain was fried from the marijuana he consumed the night before? It seems like that could contribute to brain laziness. Who knows.

Maybe removing drivers from the roadways who have had accidents where they didn't see something is a good idea. That line of thinking will lead to other reasons to limit people's eligibility to drive, though. It would be just as correct to remove the right to carry a passenger if you have ever had a single vehicle accident on your motorcycle. People who have ever rear-ended someone would be required to have computer controlled brakes installed on their car, or maybe only allowed to ride in automated vehicles. Hell, if the human brain is capable of overlooking objects, maybe nobody should be allowed to control a vehicle without computer support.

It really sucks when human error causes a tragedy like this.
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