One of the most common sorts of motorcycle accidents involves a failure of attention: The driver of a car turns left in front of an oncoming motorcycle, failing to yield the right of way. In many cases, both the rider and driver report that the driver looked right at the motorcycle before turning—they looked without seeing. Such accidents could well be an example of the illusion of attention, our tendency to assume that we will notice anything important that happens right in front of our eyes.
For the launch of our paperback edition, we are conducting a charity promotion, and one of the participating charities is the BMW MOA Foundation, a rider group that actively promotes safety education through their magazine and Rider Performance University. I recently penned a short essay for the magazine and website on how everyday illusions and mistaken intuitions increase the danger for motorcyclists. You can read it here.
If you’re a rider (or a bicyclist) and have experienced a looked-but-failed-to-see accident, please share your experiences with readers in the comments. (And, if you pre-order our paperback, you can target our donation to the BMW MOA Foundation or to any of a number of other great charities).