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Motorists are blind to motorbikes "study"

Discussion in 'Research, Studies, and Data' started by goz, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Australian National University study finds motorists are blind to motorbikes when they don't expect to see them


    THE fewer motorbikes on a stretch of road, the less likely motorists are to take them into account, according to new research.

    An Australian National University study has found that many motorists are blind to motorbikes and simply don't realise they are on the road.

    The findings suggest that if motorists don't expect to see motorbikes, they just don't see them when they appear.
    This dangerous ignorance has contributed to some of the 200 deaths a year of motorbike riders on Australian roads and the hundreds of injuries. And the same principles are being applied to bicycle riders, 50 of whom died on roads last year.

    The safety solution, according to Dr Vanessa Beanland of the Australian National University's Research School of Psychology, is for motorbike riders to travel in numbers. Then they get noticed by car drivers who have longer to react to them.

    "When motorcycles were high frequency, drivers detected them on average 51m further away, compared to when they were at low frequency," Dr Beanland said today.

    "At a driving speed of 60km/h, this allowed the driver an extra three seconds to respond.''

    Those three seconds might prevent an accident.

    About 700,000 Australians have motorcycle licences. In 2013 there were 211 killed in road accidents. The latest figures for injuries from accidents show more than 7500 riders were treated in 2011.

    The ANU researchers worked with colleagues from Monash University and the University of Nottingham. They examined how the frequency of a specific type of vehicle in traffic can influence a drivers' ability to detect and respond to them.

    A driver simulator was used to measure how quickly drivers saw motorcycles and buses on roads, with 40 adult drivers taking part. Half of the group encountered a high frequency of motorcycles and fewer buses, and half encountered fewer motorcycles and more buses.

    "Being able to accurately see and identify objects around us is crucial to ensuring safe driving and avoiding collisions," Dr Beanland said.

    "The results suggest that drivers have more difficulty detecting vehicles and hazards that are rare, compared to objects that they see frequently."

    The research was published in Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics.

    Question is, what are they going to do about it
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    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Except in Queensland....where you will get locked up instead.
    • Like Like x 5
  3. Lower the speed limits? ;-) that's the only 'lever' they know...
  4. I really dont care what they are going to do about it. I won't let the government be responsible for my safety.

    I will recognise that in situations where there are less motorcycles, such as winter or night that this increases my risk according to this survey. This is something I can recognise and effect and change my risk to respond to this danger.

    I know it is the Australian way to ask why the gubbement dont do somethin...but don't be that.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Maybe they should put on front number plates so they can see us better
    • Funny Funny x 2
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  6. "Being able to accurately see and identify objects around us is crucial to ensuring safe driving and avoiding collisions," Dr Beanland said.

    By that logic, the ability to concentrate and be aware of surroundings at all times should be an absolute per-requisite for the safe and effective operation of any vehicle....so why do we find it acceptable to have so many distractions in modern cars.

    I know, all cars should be fitted with electronic sensors that detect the close presence of other vehicles and send a jolt of electricity up the car drivers arse every time they encroach on the space of another...I could have fun with that
  7. I understand that some states now have unmarked police motorcycles with cameras doing coverts for vehicle operators using mobile phones.

    If some of the motorcycling organisations could lobby police to also collect evidence of:

    1) Failing to look over shoulder when changing lanes.
    2) Failing to indicate before turning or changing lanes.
    3) Vehicles following to closely.

    It would be a lot safer place. I am sure it would be appreciated by motorcyclists if the police directed resources to these safety issues instead of concentrating mainly on speeding. I am sure it would have a positive impact on stats.

    My experience is that often many people changing lanes are not looking over their shoulder. This combined with no indicator or not using the indicator to signal intention, only upon changing lanes, increases the risks significantly for motorcyclists, particularly those that are running legal exhaust systems (i.e. not loud ones).
  8. I'm glad to see somebody finally acknowledge what we already know.
    There is another strategy they could use. It's fairly straightforward to train people to look - and see - for target subjects such as riders. It doesn't even take very long if the trainers know what they're doing. Could easily be part of the licensing system with a bit of investment.
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. In all seriousness, I agree with titus' comments above, but I still reckon another approach, which would work, would be to let all us bike riders carry 9mm Glock pistols.
    • Funny Funny x 2
  10. Can anyone find the actual report?

    I see that the main contributor has a few papers on cognitive blindness... but I can't seem to find this particular paper?!
  11. Do you have a link to the study there goz?
  12. I know the drivers on Blackburn Road have become much more aware of bikes since I moved offices, spend every afternoon making sure they see me - I do believe it is starting to work.

    If you travel the same route at the same time ever day you can bet most of the traffic you are in does to. Make it your business to ensure you ride to be as visible as possible. Look in their windows, give them a wave if the look and don't move into your lane. Acknowledge these who let you in when filtering, wave to small boys in back seats. It all helps make people more aware of bikes which can only help us all.

    Cheers Jeremy
    • Like Like x 2
  13. I do this all the time!. it's interesting to see the play of emotions on the wee tackers faces before they finally give in and wave back. :LOL: Then I try to achieve the same thing by waving at the driver. ;) Doesn't always work out quite the same though. :grumpy:
  14. If the rules were to be changed to allow young folk to get their motorcycle licence a year before getting a car licence, as it was in the UK, we'd very soon find more car drivers "seeing" riders.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. In WA they can ride scooters without a supervisor long before they can drive without one. Many take up this option, but I don't think the SMIDSY problem is any lesser over here.
  16. Yes I agree but in the meantime, until existing drivers process through the system, you've got a very large pool of rider-blind users who aren't going to learn anything.
    I'm not saying that it's a reason not to do it, just that it will take a long time to bear fruit.
    On a positive, burgeoning bicycle use (and awareness) really ought to rub some benefits off on us, even if the fit is not perfect. And they could probably everage some spending on formal vision training better than we can.
  17. I wonder if this actually has real term benefits for us? While it's good that drivers are having to look more often for bikes, they really only have to look in limited places (i.e. bike lane or left hand edge of the road). Suddenly we pop up on their right hand side or filtering etc. So, they used to check for "cars"; now they check for "cars" and the bike lane for bikes. It certainly makes them expand their view, but, it's almost an even more targeted view than they had before.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. This "safety in numbers" paper was widely reported at the time, but I can't drag up a copy. I've found other "inattentional blindness" research by the key author, which makes for interesting reading and paints a pretty clear picture about what's going on in the human mind and perception. It's the scientific version of the invisible Gorilla experiment (although the gorilla stuff is totally backed by science - prof Dan Simons is no slouch).

    If anyone reading this has an academic papers subscription, please pm me!
  19. You need to pay for it, or get friendly with Vanessa & ask for a free copy.

    Link: Abstract
    Link: Driver inattention and driver distraction in serious casualty crashes

    Dr Vanessa Beanland
    Lecturer, Research School of Psychology
    ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment and ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment
    E: vanessa.beanland@anu.edu.au

  20. Yeah, I was trying to through research gate. Will try directly.