American Motorcyclist March 2018

Australian Study Supports Motorcycle Awareness Training

Drivers Are Processing Too Much Info

Illustration By Gina Gaston

The SMIDSY (Sorry, mate, I didn’t see you) excuse from drivers who hit motorcyclists is a real phenomenon, but one that can be overcome through training, according to an Australian National University study.

The study, “Allocating Attention to Detect Motorcycles: The Role of Inattentional Blindness,” found that drivers are overloaded with too much sensory information, so the brain decides which information is most important.

It seems motorcycles are not a high priority inside most drivers’ craniums.

Inattentional blindness results in “looked-but-failed-to-see” crashes, one of the more common types of motorcycle crashes.

The researchers behind the Australian study say that the frequency of this type of crash suggests a connection to the brain’s information filtering process.

They found that drivers who also held a motorcycle license were more likely to notice motorcycles during their research.

The researchers say their study highlights the need to encourage drivers to be more motorcycle-aware with special training for novice drivers, according to a report. They conclude that advertising campaigns and formal driver training are two ways to make motorcyclists “more visible.”