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The Invisibles

A2 POSTER FAW HIGH RES2Half of all cycle crashes and a third of all motorcycle crashes in Gloucestershire involved another vehicle where the driver “failed to look”. That’s over 700 riders who have been hurt on our roads since 2008 in preventable and avoidable collisions. Most of these were at urban junctions in the County, where male drivers collided with male cyclists and motorcyclists. And surprisingly, the majority of these crashes were not in darkness – they were in daylight hours.

So why do these types of crashes happen? Professor David Crudnall* of Nottingham Trent University explains the top 3 reasons:

     1. Drivers may fail to even look.

Some drivers may be so preoccupied with reaching their destination on time, they may rely on their peripheral vision to identify oncoming vehicles when approaching a junction. In the worst cases, drivers may not pay any attention to the main carriageway when exiting from a side road.

     2. Drivers may look down the main carriageway and actually spot the approaching rider, but for whatever reason they decide to pull out anyway.

Perhaps they think the rider is very far away? Perhaps they misjudge the rider’s approach speed? Or perhaps they are content to use their greater size to force themselves into the road at the expense of other road users?

     3. Finally some drivers may look, but never perceive the oncoming rider (failing to see) and   therefore make a decision to pull out on the basis of what seems to be an empty road.

The driver performed all the correct actions but, for some reason, (i.e. not the driver’s fault) the perceptual process failed. Does this really happen?

Studies have demonstrated it does. We assume that whatever the eye is looking at reflects what is being thought about, but this has repeatedly been shown to be false. Just think about a time when you’ve been trying to read a book but something else is on your mind. Your eyes move along the line but you may have to read the sentence several times in order to process what it means. In essence this is a ‘Look But Fail To See’ error when reading a book

What are we doing about it?

We are launching our latest campaign, The Invisibles, which calls for drivers to take time at junctions to look for motorcyclists and cyclists. We are also calling for riders to take steps to make themselves seen by drivers. We need drivers to look, look and look again.


What you need to know as a driver

1. Motorcyclists and cyclists can be invisible to you if you do not make a conscious decision to look for them 2. A glance is never enough – always look right and left at least twice. This doubles your chance...

Read more about 'What you need to know as a driver'

What you need to know as a motorcyclist

1.Position yourself in the best place to maximize your visibility of potential hazards 2. Avoid lingering in the blind spots created by the A-pillars and C-pillars of cars; those are the front 3/4 and rear 3/4 angle views out of...

Read more about 'What you need to know as a motorcyclist'

What you need to know as a cyclist

1. Position yourself in the safest and best place to maximize your visibility and your view of potential hazards 2. If you ride in a vehicles blind spot, you will be invisible to the driver. This is particularly true of...

Read more about 'What you need to know as a cyclist'

What else can you do?

The Road Safety Team have developed a training package for businesses which looks specifically at the issues surrounding “failing to look, failing to see”. The “Coming to a Junction Near You” package is targeted at drivers, riders and cyclists and...

Read more about 'What else can you do?'

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