Drivers are five times more likely to forget seeing an oncoming motorcycle than a car, according to researchers at the University of Nottingham.
Their study found that drivers see but almost immediately forget that a vehicle is approaching up to 15 per cent of the time. In some cases, drivers have absolutely no recollection of seeing an oncoming vehicle, even as they were about to pull out of a junction.
The research attempts to debunk the idea that drivers do not pay enough attention to motorcyclists. It suggests that short term memory failures could be to blame instead.
The study involved driving around in a virtual simulator that was designed to test their awareness of bikes. A BMW Mini was mounted onto a tilting platform, and a 360-degree projector was used to mimic the visual experience.
The scientists say that some of the estimated 90 fatalities a year in the UK that are caused by drivers pulling out in front of oncoming motorcycles could be prevented if drivers say “bike” out loud when they see one approaching.
They claim the ‘see bike, say bike’ approach “has the potential to be a major contribution to world health.”