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Motorcycles – The Dangers of Target Fixation - Jones Law Group

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Motorcycles – The Dangers of Target Fixation

By: Heath C. Murphy +Personal Injury

I write a lot about the drivers of cars not paying proper attention to motorcycles and the inability of drivers to “see” motorcycles. However, motorists are not the only ones who utilize bad habits when navigating the roads and highways. Though target fixation is common among motorists it is much more dangerous for bikers. In this article, I will explain the phenomenon of target fixation and how to avoid falling victim to target fixation.

What is Target Fixation?

Target fixation is a term that was originally coined in World War II. Pilots that flew bombers on runs had a habit of actually crashing into their target. It was discovered that the pilots were actually staring at their target rather than where they wanted to fly their plane. Once they addressed this issue in training, it was discovered that frequency in which the pilots would crash into the target was significantly reduced.

Likewise, when riding a motorcycle it is a common occurrence to actually focus on areas which the biker is trying to avoid.

There are a variety of circumstances which can cause a rider to be fixated on a target which he/she is trying to avoid. Some examples of situations in which target fixation can contribute to a motorcycle accident include:

1. When entering a curve or corner is common for riders to keep their eyes focused straight ahead rather than following the curve and looking for a point in which they will exit the curve.
2. Objects in the road will naturally draw the rider’s eyes to the object and in some instances cause the rider to become fixated and unable to avoid the collision.
3. Cars or other objects located on the side of the road will cause riders to become fixated and actually collide with the car or object.
4. Potholes are, many times, actually struck because the rider becomes fixated on the pothole.
5. Animals crossing in front of a rider will also be struck when the rider becomes fixated.
6. In many cases, a rider may be attempting to maintain control of the motorcycle and avoid an accident, when he/she becomes focused on objects to near the motorcycle. Even when making split second adjustments, it is important not become focused on where the motorcycle may end up, but instead to focus on where the rider would like it to go.

How to Avoid Target Fixation

This is easier said than done. The only way to avoid this phenomenon is to train your brain. You can practice by focusing on something on the road and then find a path away from the object. As you approach dangers, consciously look for a path which avoids the pothole or other danger. The more you practice the more it will become automatic and less likely you are to fall victim to target fixation.

Common Motorcycle Injuries

Unfortunately, the results of a motorcycle accident can be devastating and include:

1. Death;
2. Traumatic brain injury and/or concussions;
3. Spinal cord damage and/or paralysis;
4. Disfigurement;
5. Fractured or broken bones;
6. Nerve damage and/or bikers arm;
7. Lacerations, contusions and road rash; and
8. Neck and back injuries.

Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Lawyer at Jones Law Group

Have you or a loved one been injured in a motorcycle accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of another, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707



Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio