Close to 5,000 people were killed in accidents on motorcycles and similar vehicles in 2006. One of the most common causes of accidents on motorcycles is a phenomenon known as object fixation. No matter how long you've been riding, it's in your best interest to understand what it is and how you can avoid it. In fact, veteran riders especially should brush up, since long-term riding can make you somewhat complacent and may cause you to overlook important safety considerations. Here are some things that riders of all experience levels should know.
What Exactly Is Object Fixation?
The human body's natural reflex is to follow the path of the eye. So, if you're focused on a specific point, you're likely to inadvertently steer your motorcycle toward that point. This can happen for many reasons, including things like road fatigue, lack of rider experience, or simple overconfidence.
As long as your focus is directly ahead of you, there isn't much to worry about. However, if your focus shifts to something alongside the road or a pothole in the road in front of you, that can put you at risk of an accident.
What Can Riders Do To Combat Object Fixation?
Avoiding the complications of object fixation requires little more than deliberate, attentive riding. You need to be proactive about focusing your attention where you want it to be. The more you do this, the easier it will become.
Practice as much as possible. It's easiest to develop these skills when you can actively practice them. Find an area nearby where you can ride amidst obstacles like curbs, potholes and the like. You'll also want your practice area to have some painted lines, so look for either a very lightly traveled road or a large parking lot.
Direct your head carefully. While you're practicing, make sure you point your head directly ahead of you through turns. That way, your eyes remain focused where the bike should go. This minimizes your risk of drifting to the outside of the turn.
Learn to ride while looking ahead of you, not right in front of the wheel. When you're watching the road directly in front of your handlebars, you're not going to see obstacles in a timely manner. This will leave you at risk of an accident. Avoid this danger by learning how to ride with your focus beyond the front tire. Watch what's several feet ahead of you instead so that you have more time to react to things in the road.
Remember that your state of mind is just as important. One of the things that can help you manage your focus on the road is reflex training. By training your body to respond to specific scenarios, your muscles will recall those thoughts and react accordingly. Think about specific situations and focus on the details of your body's reflex response and what you want it to do. This prepares your muscles so that they do what you've trained them to do. The more times you visualize these things, the quicker and easier your muscles will react. It makes those movements more like instincts, which protects you from panic and shock reactions like locking your eyes on something on the side of the road and steering in the wrong direction.
As a motorcycle rider, it's in your best interest to understand the key safety steps that will protect you on the road. Avoiding object fixation is an important part of that rider safety. With the information here, you can be better prepared as a rider. If you do find yourself the victim of an accident due to object fixation or any other cause, reach out to a motorcycle accident attorney at a law firm like Welsh & Welsh PC LLO right away. He or she will help you navigate the accident claim process and any potential legal actions.