ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > The perfect line and other riding myths
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-12-2014, 11:33 PM   #1
Sparrowhawk OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Sparrowhawk's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2005
Location: Eastern Washington, USA
Oddometer: 1,829
Twin headlights

Today I scared the shit out of a couple of Harley riders and, to a lesser extent, the passengers I'm the car I was driving.

I'm heading south on WY 26 into Cody and got behind a short line of cars going slow behind it truck. It's a straight, rolling stretch with good visibility.

The pavement is shimmering and there are a couple of cars coming from the distance but there's plenty of room. I jump into the passing lane and get passed a couple of cars when my wife starts urgently encouraging me to "WATCH OUT!". It turns out the two cars in the distance were actually a couple of Harleys with the side by side round headlights significantly closer. The cars in the line I was passing were tailgating each other making it hard to get back into my lane.

Hard on the brakes, push my way back into the line of cars, the two bikes go past, and all is good. I was really surprised to be fooled by the illusion.

I wasn't goofing off. I was paying attention and being careful. I had plenty of room to pass safely before the two"cars" were coming. In the light and conditions the two headlights in the fairing close together looked exactly like automotive headlights in the distance.
Sparrowhawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2014, 03:18 AM   #2
Grinnin
Forever N00b
 
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Maine
Oddometer: 2,462
The brain matches complex visual input to past patterns to create a mental model that is simple enough to work with. Trying to understand all the textures of our visual input would just bog our brains down with too much detail.

In other words we see what we expect to see.

I am a strong believer in looking twice to see if I saw what I thought I saw. It's not a guarantee that I won't do what you did. I also like the triangle of light on one of my bikes -- it won't ever look like one headlight of a pair.
__________________
Motorcycles are magical.

Grinnin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2014, 03:41 AM   #3
scootrboi
Beastly Adventurer
 
scootrboi's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Vermont
Oddometer: 1,298
clear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grinnin View Post
The brain matches complex visual input to past patterns to create a mental model that is simple enough to work with. Trying to understand all the textures of our visual input would just bog our brains down with too much detail.

In other words we see what we expect to see.

I am a strong believer in looking twice to see if I saw what I thought I saw. It's not a guarantee that I won't do what you did. I also like the triangle of light on one of my bikes -- it won't ever look like one headlight of a pair.
The hardest part is making sure there is nothing there.
__________________
42 years on a Heinkel Tourist
scootrboi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2014, 07:08 AM   #4
No False Enthusiasm
a quiet adventurer
 
No False Enthusiasm's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Small Town, Texas
Oddometer: 4,216
I've experienced a similar phenomenon when passing a car on a lonely two-lane road here in Texas at just about sundown. I was headed into a setting sun and noticed approaching headlights, far ahead.

I pulled out to pass, then floored it when I realized that the approaching headlights belonged to an older Jeep, one with the narrow lights, mounted well inside the fender wells. It appeared to be much further off that it was...

Scared the bejezuz out of me...

NFE
No False Enthusiasm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2014, 07:26 AM   #5
anotherguy
Beastly Adventurer
 
anotherguy's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: the hills
Oddometer: 5,936
If you were paying attention your wife wouldn't have said a word. Seeing is different than looking. See dammit.
__________________
A lie has no feet......it can't stand alone.............
Jason Newsted
anotherguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2014, 08:38 AM   #6
Sparrowhawk OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Sparrowhawk's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2005
Location: Eastern Washington, USA
Oddometer: 1,829
Quote:
Originally Posted by anotherguy View Post
If you were paying attention your wife wouldn't have said a word. Seeing is different than looking. See dammit.
Bull
Sparrowhawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2014, 10:59 AM   #7
Ernest T
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Ernest T's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Salado, TX
Oddometer: 482
Quote:
Originally Posted by anotherguy View Post
If you were paying attention your wife wouldn't have said a word. Seeing is different than looking. See dammit.
that's not how it works in my house.....
Ernest T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2014, 02:16 PM   #8
High Country Herb
Adventure Connoiseur
 
High Country Herb's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Western Sierras
Oddometer: 6,810
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grinnin View Post
The brain matches complex visual input to past patterns to create a mental model that is simple enough to work with. Trying to understand all the textures of our visual input would just bog our brains down with too much detail.

In other words we see what we expect to see.

I am a strong believer in looking twice to see if I saw what I thought I saw. It's not a guarantee that I won't do what you did. I also like the triangle of light on one of my bikes -- it won't ever look like one headlight of a pair.
I read that study as well. Further into the discussion, they talked about lighting combinations that force the brain to focus rather than insert the expected.

Multi colored lights help, and so does a triangle shaped arrangement of lights. Ideally, a single white headlight, with 2 low mounted amber driving lights.
High Country Herb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2014, 07:12 AM   #9
Bill Harris
Confirmed Curmudgeon
 
Bill Harris's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: backwoods Alabama
Oddometer: 6,640
Quote:
Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
I read that study as well. Further into the discussion, they talked about lighting combinations that force the brain to focus rather than insert the expected.

Multi colored lights help, and so does a triangle shaped arrangement of lights. Ideally, a single white headlight, with 2 low mounted amber driving lights.
Exactly-- that is the arrangement I settled on many years ago-- a distinctive pattern, and since it is legal up front, a pattern plus a color difference.

What I ended up with in front:


As a "next step", I'm thinking of replading the daytime (H4) headlight with a ring of uber-bright white LEDs, much like on many current autos.


Rear lighting:


The two large outer tail lights are also brake lights, so the pattern keeps while braking.

One problem of the times is that nowadays many cars have required "daytime running lights" in front. Good idea, I guess. But back years ago, the only vehicles with DRLs were motorcycles, and they stood out from the crowd. Nowadays, they can blend in.

My 2c.

--Bill
__________________
'73 R60/5 Toaster
Luddite. Not just a philosophy, a way of life...
Bill Harris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2014, 03:46 PM   #10
SpaceKnight
Adventurer
 
Joined: Feb 2014
Oddometer: 10
I find it amazing that you can tell how far apart headlights are when the vehicle is .8 miles away. Wish I could see that good.

If you see a single headlight do you assume it's a motorcycle or a car really really far away?
SpaceKnight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2014, 04:14 PM   #11
anotherguy
Beastly Adventurer
 
anotherguy's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: the hills
Oddometer: 5,936
Since installing an HID in the Tuono I notice more people paying attention to me. It's aimed properly and not blinding. I get no high beam flashes when on low beam. When on high the road is daylight for about a mile 'cause I have three lamps. Only the main is HID the other 2 are 35 watt H7 halogen. I tread the fine line between bright and annoying but err on the side of caution. I don't wanna piss anyone off but I don't wanna be a hood ornament either.

I'll be installing some turn signals with 1157 bulbs so I can have 4 brake lamps and colored running lights up front w/o looking like crap. I ride too much to trust in others ability to pay attention.
__________________
A lie has no feet......it can't stand alone.............
Jason Newsted
anotherguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2014, 10:30 PM   #12
Sparrowhawk OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Sparrowhawk's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2005
Location: Eastern Washington, USA
Oddometer: 1,829
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceKnight View Post
I find it amazing that you can tell how far apart headlights are when the vehicle is .8 miles away. Wish I could see that good.
Not that difficult really if you're driving/riding in open country. Find a car or whatever off in the distance that produces the sight image you're thinking about. Note where it is in relation to a hill, overpass, curve, etc. then look at your odometer, and see how far you travelled when you get to that same point. Easy peasy

Lots of folks have focused on finding fault with my driving. That's OK. I never claimed to be perfect. I screwed up. It's missing the point though.

The thing is that I am a long time rider. I like motorcycles, all of them. I watch them as they go by. I look out for them.

The point is that if a motorcycle enthusiast can mistake the sight image of a twin headlight motorcycle and perceive an automobile in the distance then so can any driver. My 90 year old mother, my teenage son, the guy who had a few drinks before heading home, the young woman texting, the guy on his way to work without enough sleep, the woman who just found out her husband is cheating, and on and on.

Really, the only point is that a person can see two side by side headlights in the distance, mistake it for a car or truck much farther away, and do something thinking there is plenty of space that puts the rider at risk.

Be careful out there.
Sparrowhawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2014, 11:35 PM   #13
catweasel67
Banned
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Vienna, Austria
Oddometer: 8,104
I'll often wait, if I'm looking to pass, until I'm positive about the distance to the vehicle coming my way, or about how much space I have to use - sometimes it means I miss a prime over-taking slot but I've had perception play tricks with me before. Better safe than sorry.

As for how I appear to oncoming traffic - well, I really don't buy the whole twin-headlight thing but that doesn't really matter because, even if I did,, it'd be the very least of our worries. I've lost count (well, OK, it's about a dozen over 20 years or so) of the amount of times cagers have "forced" me over to the side of the road because they're incapable of looking properly, or have depth perception issues, or are just wankers. It's never really been a problem because I'm aware that the vast majority of cagers are only looking for cars so I'm also aware to the possibilities when I get on a long stretch of road and see a lorry or other presumably slow moving vehicle coming my way. Sometimes a nice healthy weave fixes the problem, sometimes it doesn't but one thing's for sure, it'll happen again.


Oh, and something else before I forget - if you're riding in the late afternoon and your shadow is directly in front of you, that means the sun is behind you. The longer the shadow the, the more behind you the sun is and the higher then chance that you'll be "lost" in it. At this point headlights, on or off, won't make a blind bit of difference.

catweasel67 screwed with this post 07-28-2014 at 03:05 AM
catweasel67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2014, 10:46 AM   #14
catweasel67
Banned
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Vienna, Austria
Oddometer: 8,104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrowhawk View Post
Today I scared the shit out of a couple of Harley riders and, to a lesser extent, the passengers I'm the car I was driving.

I'm heading south on WY 26 into Cody and got behind a short line of cars going slow behind it truck. It's a straight, rolling stretch with good visibility.

The pavement is shimmering and there are a couple of cars coming from the distance but there's plenty of room. I jump into the passing lane and get passed a couple of cars when my wife starts urgently encouraging me to "WATCH OUT!". It turns out the two cars in the distance were actually a couple of Harleys with the side by side round headlights significantly closer. The cars in the line I was passing were tailgating each other making it hard to get back into my lane.

Hard on the brakes, push my way back into the line of cars, the two bikes go past, and all is good. I was really surprised to be fooled by the illusion.

I wasn't goofing off. I was paying attention and being careful. I had plenty of room to pass safely before the two"cars" were coming. In the light and conditions the two headlights in the fairing close together looked exactly like automotive headlights in the distance.
So what's your take-away from this?

What, if anything, are you gonna do differently from now on?
catweasel67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2014, 11:47 AM   #15
Human Ills
Useful Idiom
 
Human Ills's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: South (Dog help me) Bay
Oddometer: 22,593
Quote:
Originally Posted by catweasel67 View Post
So what's your take-away from this?

What, if anything, are you gonna do differently from now on?
Tell people not to ride twin headlight bikes?
Human Ills is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 01:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014