As a rider, even on one of the biggest motorcycles, we remain very small. And when you are in traffic, car drivers might
miss seeing us and before we know it, we've crashed into them. It's not that the car driver isn't looking for us, many
actually do try to pay attention to bikers, but at times they just don't see us. One of the possible reasons is Motion
Motion Induced Blindness, also known as MIB, is a recently discovered phenomena. Back in 1991 it was first formulated as
something that could cause people in motion not to see certain things. Jet fighters and even airline pilots know about
it, since in essence MIB is a result of staring into a space while in motion. With your vehicle's movement (be it a jet
fighter or a car), looking at a spot (like the center of the road) can hide other objects.
Look at the moving diagram below. You see three yellow spots on the outer limits, in the center is a green blinking dot
and around it are blue crosses turning. Not exactly a situation you'll find on the road, but it's just to illustrate the
MIB point (image driving a car on a country road with trees lined on both sides and the yellow dots are motorcycles). If
you now stare at the green blinking dot, you'll suddenly see the yellow dots disappear and reappear. There's no rhyme or
reason behind the timing, it happens at different times for different people. Have look:
Motion-induced blindness demonstration
You can say that the dots are too small, that is why you can't see them, or that they are turning to fast, or slow.
Well, head on over to the MSF site and try it there
. The same diagram
can be changed by increasing or decreasing the size of the spots, or making things go faster or slower. The result is
the same; you'll occasionally not see the yellow objects.
Basically the MIB phenomena means that even if you are wearing high-visibility jackets
, a car could not see you.
The only way out of this process is to have the car driver shift eyes continuously, i.e., not stare in one spot
(straight ahead). So, no white line fever, something that for sure will involve cars ramming into motorcycles.
Obviously MIB is not the main reason that cars and motorcycle have accidents. There are many factors at play, and as we
know from statistics, around 70% of motorcycle accidents are caused by car drivers, and this will be one of them.
What can we do as motorcycle riders? Not much. If the car driver can't see you because of MIB, maybe the only thing is
flashing your headlights and swerving, but that will result in a whole other series of problems and dangers. Nobody ever
said that riding motorcycles is a safe hobby.
to read more about Motion Induced Blindness