A new study on why we crash has been released. I found it quite interesting. Thought I would share with the forum.
I was particularly intrigued by the findings that indicated riders don't scan ahead far enough. I wrote a paper when I was in college reagarding this very subject. Well, not exactly the same subject.
I was inspired to write the paper because I discovered that hikers/mountaineers tended to look down at their feet instead of looking up ahead. So I decided to research the psychological aspects concerning this behavior. Thus, the inspiration for the paper.
Turns out that as humans we do this in many forms as we navigate from place to place all the time. We allow our subconscious to assess the ongoing situation for dealing with danger. Our subconscious decides that the immediate threat, the next step, requires our attention.
This can be very dangerous when riding a motorcycle! As the author in the article pointed out:
We’re not keeping our eyes up and looking far down the road, to see the developing situation that is going to cause the driver in front of us to slam on his brakes, or to spot the hunk of exploded truck tire lying in our lane. Those things are taking us by surprise and we’re not giving ourselves enough time to react.
The concern for the immediate threat is something we learned while trying to survive in a very primitive world where we did not exists at the top of the food chain. Evolution has trained us to scan for the immediate threat. It's actually an innate ability that we are born with.
We tell ourselves as riders that we need to learn to scan ahead. It's easy to fool ourselves into thinking that we have accomplished this when riding. If you want to really test this try it when you're walking. Most people will be shocked to learn how much they look down at their next footfalls instead of scanning ahead.
It takes some serious effort to retrain ourselves to scan ahead. Obviously, this can be a life saving skill when riding!