“We’ve already noted that motorcycling is very dangerous, and that none of the tactics commonly employed to mitigate the danger have managed to bring the danger level down to anywhere near that of passenger vehicles. However, for some people the enjoyment of motorcycling overshadows the potential for injury. And becoming a better rider seems to increase the satisfaction.

While increasing control skills has been a central theme in “advanced” rider training, I have suggested that developing mental skills is equally or even more important to the experienced motorcyclist. The term “Situational Awareness” encompasses the mental skills required to identify and track enough of the unfolding scene to make intelligent decisions about the speed and direction of the vehicle.

Situational Awareness is affected by the speed of the vehicle. There are several scientifically-supportable reasons why speed can contribute to a crash. First, when viewing the unfolding situation, faster speed means less time to view any detail. As speed increases, the brain considers less and less of the scene in peripheral vision. The brain apparently comprehends that there’s no point in observing any details close to the speeding vehicle, because the driver can’t react quickly enough to take any evasive action.

A driver’s response time will be roughly the same at different speeds, but the same response time will eat up more distance at a faster speed. For example, let’s say a skilled motorcyclist is approaching an intersection at 40 mph. He has the right-of-way, but suspects the oncoming black SUV might turn across his path. Assuming a response time of 0.75 sec. the bike will cover about 45 feet while he’s thinking it over. But if he has noticed traffic slowing ahead and the possibility of turning vehicles and already reduced speed to 30 mph, his reaction time will only require 33 feet.”

Read the rest of David Hough’s LinkedIn Pulse article, Situational Awareness, part 2 by clicking here!