target fixation - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-28-2004, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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target fixation

How many riders have seen or know about a rider that followed another rider off the road.
I was invited on a group ride today with some really cool riders of all types. Unfortunately one of them crashed on the return leg of the ride. Other than a nasty looking abrasion on his stomach and a complaint about a sore back he seemed to have survive his ordeal although his bike was not as lucky. I was impressed with his composure afterwards because I think I would have more visibly upset if my bike and body looked like his.

On the break during the first leg some of us had been discussing how a rider can get target fixation on the rider in front of him. I noticed I was doing it @ times when the gap closed up between myself and the rider directly in front of me. On the return leg I was behind the leader and went into a left hand turn with a decreasing radius faster than I should have. I went off the road into a large dirt turn out, miraculously stayed upright and was able to flat track it back onto the road. Unfortunately the guy right behind me followed me off the road and crashed.
I don't know if he actually had target fixation and that is why he went off or if it was just a matter of too much speed for that corner but it got me thinking about that earlier discussion.
So what are the experiences of others?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-28-2004, 09:47 PM
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I have been on a few rides with people that I'm getting to know. I have yet to actually fixate on them Usually case they are better riders then me and after the first turn they are much to far ahead of me. I have to remember to ride with in my own abilities. And look though that god dam turn. I have to in plant that in to my head. I have noticed that when I do it. I come though the turn Nice and smooth. and the turn appears to me perfect. I'm still having trouble judging my entrance speed for about 50% of my Turns.

However I have noticed that if there is stuff on the freeway like flying paper or what have you, I tend to watch it. I would say that I get target fixation on it. Which I know is not what I want to do. but I have to pay attention to it because you don't know what way it is going to go. I have a fear of it coming at me and covering up my helmet so I can't see shit.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-28-2004, 09:50 PM
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Actually it is a very common thing & many riders do not know why they went off on a bend or why they ended up hitting the post of a sign by the road.

Bad enough that one has to keep eyes on the road & traffic, but just that one time one ends up looking at something & ending up going in that direction.

I do not ride with others so cannot say anything on that yet on another board a rider in a group lost his NEW Honda 1000 due to fixation at a bend, totalled his bike & he is now in the hosptial with some busted leg bones. At least he did not ram into the rider in front of him.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-28-2004, 11:11 PM
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Target fixation is the reason for alot of accidents, I know of two cases (fatal) that could have resulted in lesser injuries due to it.

It's why bikes hit power poles, the rider is saying to himself, don't hit the pole, don't hit the pole..............

You go where you look, if your looking at a target you will naturally head towards it.

If your too hot into a corner, don't look at the roadside, pick a point you would like to exit the corner from, and concentrate on that, most (sport) bikes will out corner all but the most insane riders ability.

It's happend to me once, scared the shite out of me, but I got round.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2004, 07:28 AM
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Here's a recent BARF thread with some good observations and suggestions.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2004, 07:31 AM
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The oddest target fixation i ever got, was when at 80mph on a highway i encountered this FLYING COUCH PILLOW.
probly came out of the back of someone truck. luckily it was soft and bounced off, but my mind was totally unprepared for what my eyes were seing.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2004, 09:25 AM
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This is just one reason why I don't care for riding with groups...

If ya want to ride in groups, then you have to keep enough of a distance between riders that ya can't fixate on the rider in front of was stated above..Always look where you want to go..i.e. in a turn, that would be the exit, or as far ahead as possible.

Another rule I have is, I don't ride behind anyone I don't know...

Old, Slow, but ...Smooth
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2004, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally posted by DataDan
Here's a recent BARF thread with some good observations and suggestions.
That was an interesting thread Dan, thanks. There are some good points in it along with those made here.

In that thread there were stories of 2-3 riders following each other off the road which is something a couple of us had been discussing as a possibility before the accident.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2004, 06:09 AM
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This past weekend I was at a BMW rally in GA, we were talking about this very subject, a friend was telling a story about overcooking a corner and due to a large runoff area deciding to go straight, he came sliding to a stop in the trees at the edge of the runn off and was just thinking "I hope my friend behind me made that turn" when his friend slid to a stop beside him, looked at him and said "what the hell are we doing here?" I have a theory that practicing picking and looking at the desired line instead of the object to be avoided in poor conditions such as dirt roads helps greatly in an emergency. I often seek out dirt roads and roads in poor condition to hone my line picking skills, target fixation on the dirt road will likly leave you blowing through a mud hole and learning a soggy lesson in not to looking where you don't want to go, on the other hand the same mistake at higher speed on the street will likly land you in the ER or worse. My advise is that every sportbike rider should also have a dirt capable bike to work on those skills in a safer environment.

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