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  1. #1
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    Default Some thoughts on scanning from a motorcyclist perspective.

    http://www.sportrider.com/ride/146_9...ght/index.html


    snip

    Although the human eye is often compared to a camera, it's far more sophisticated than the finest camera. Unlike the camera, the eye can see only a narrow focus zone clearly. That's why it constantly shifts-as many as 10 times a second-when it views something. If it weren't for this panoramic effect, you would have tunnel vision.

    Because the eyes need constant stimulation, staring actually causes a loss in sharpness. The longer you fix your gaze on something, the less you see. Contributing to the danger is the fact that peripheral vision decreases dramatically when you're staring until you can see only in a hazy narrow zone directly ahead.

    We depend heavily on peripheral vision to keep us informed as to what's going on around us. When something catches our attention peripherally, we then zoom in on it with central or "foveal" vision. Instead of straining to see something, use what the Zen masters call "soft eyes": View everything with a relaxed but keen focus. Keep your line of sight moving; never focus on anything for more than two seconds. This is especially true when you're riding at high speeds, or even at moderate speeds in heavy traffic.

    At first it might seem logical to keep your head aligned with your body when you're leaned over for a high-speed sweeper. Wrong. Keep in mind that your eyes are also an important part of your body's balance systems. In fact, some 20 percent of the eyes' nerves hook up to the brain's body-balance centers. This means that the eyes must be vertically oriented to the horizon, or else they'll send confusing information to the brain. Another advantage of keeping your head level is that it allows you to see farther along the curve.

    snip
    Very informative. I'd like to hear some thoughts on this and the subject of visual awareness in regards to firearms and training with them from those who have lots of experience. I am a newbie.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Some thoughts on scanning from a motorcyclist perspective.

    As a former instructor with the State MC Program, scanning is stressed as an effective avoidance tool, and it does work. After all, they aren't looking for us so we have to look out for them. And the earlier we can detect something bad coming our way, the more time we have to react.

    I just have a couple ??? about the quoted text.

    The human eye has a much greater depth of field then a lens. Looking straight out we can see everything in full focus from about 5 ft to as far as we can see. What we lack in the central part of vision is fine detail, motion detection and we need more light to see with. This is because of the way the eye is built, cones in the central area for color perception are less sensitive then the surrounding rods used for low light vision. That's why we "catch something out of the corner of our eye" before we see it.

    There's also a saying, we go where we look. Fix your gaze too long on the sweetie standing on the curb, you will meet her. Another reason to scan.

    The reason to keep your head up while leaned over is so you don't get dizzy. Yes, you do see more road with your head up, and you can snap over quicker but if you let your head stay 90 deg. to your shoulders while leaned over, you will get dizzy.

    And while vision does do a lot for keeping your balance, it's not fool proof otherwise we'd have a lot of unsighted people wobbling down the sidewalks. During flight training you do an exercise called "Inproper Attitude" where your flight instructor takes control of the plane and you close your eyes and take your hands off the controls. After a few seconds, the CFI releases control of the aircraft and tells you to recover the plane. When you first open your eyes you have no idea which way is up or down, you can't trust your vision for correct action. You MUST rely on your instruments.

    But I'm all for scanning, get in the habit and use it .... even when you have 4 wheels, 2 wings or 2 feet. It does help.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Some thoughts on scanning from a motorcyclist perspective.

    Good points! Another techinique I've employed successfully while riding is;
    You get to choose when you blink!
    We've all heard the expression "in the blink of an eye", well it has meaning in the real world. Humans tend to instinctivly blink when scanning everytime the eyeball moves to a different position. Try it and see! Now, if you can train yourself to only blink when you need to, that is, in between scans, then your scan eye movements become that much more efficient. You don't lose the visual input from one eye position to the next. Granted, it's a very small period of time that your eyes are actually closed, but in the blink of an eye....you can be under a truck checking his u-joints. The more visual input you can stuff into the gray goop, the better your decisions will be and the safer you'll stay. Just my .02.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Some thoughts on scanning from a motorcyclist perspective.

    Sounds like something Keith Code would say at his Super Bike school.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Some thoughts on scanning from a motorcyclist perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Exbiker View Post
    Sounds like something Keith Code would say at his Super Bike school.
    Does he still run that program at Pocono ?? I've always wanted to go to one, from as far back as when my Dad first talked about us going together when I was in my late teens ( already with a 10 year riding history). We never went because he gave up riding after having a spill/near miss , that was to much a reminder of the one he had in '73 on a Triumph that almost killed him when I was an infant.

    All to common "little old lady, turning left, crossing into his lane, I didnt see him"

    He wound up 10 feet in the air, 50 feet down the road, breaking his back, both legs and crushing his left foot.

    I'd still LOVE to go to "SuperBike School " didnt Eddie Lawson start one up also ?


    Sorry for the thread drift.

    This is strictly from a shooting/self defense point of view.

    Back to the OP. There are some very valuable points in that article you quoted. I know, especially in low light/dark conditions, you should not look directly at an object, but off to one side by 5 to 10 degrees roughly, as it helps the rods in your eye focus. The human eye is naturally drawn to movement, you'd be amazed how easy it is to miss someone standing rock still, especially in difficult lighting. And the point about not staring is right on, what I've been taught is to scan the area in "sweeps" and raise your line of site 5 to 10 degree's and sweep again. I dont know of any preference or tactical reason to go right to left or vice versa, although I suspect your dominant eye would play something of a role in the whole package.

    The more important issue, IMHO, is having a highly developed, instinctive sense of situational awareness, in other words, highly attuned SA being the " big picture" and scanning being the nitty gritty details.

    I remember reading many times over, by many different authors and authorities on the subject that people have been conditioned to ignore their " gut feeling" far to often, and wind up obliviously walking right into a situation that their spidey senses were screaming at them something was " off" Its generally been chalked up to a combination of social graces ( not wanting to be perceived as rude, racist, paranoid ,etc), denial that bad things only ever happen to other people, and a willfull reluctance to train ones self, because having to acknowledge the need for the skill itself forces someone to also acknowledge the world isnt the safe,warm and fuzzy place people like to delude themselves into thinking it is.

    All that being said, there are substantial differences in using " scanning " depending on the situation. An up close and personal firefight in a confined or relatively small area is going to be quite different vs scoping a tree line 500 yards out, looking for a hidden person or game animal, vs being in the cockpit of an F22 traveling 1200 mph.

    What needs to be avoided at ALL costs is "target fixation" or tunnel vision. The problem is, because of certain automatic physiologic responses of your body to a fight or flight scenario and the attendant adrenalin dump, tunnel vision can come on VERY rapidly and often before you consciously recognize it happening so you can will yourself to fight its effects. As with most everything else, it all comes down to three words. TRAINING, TRAINING, TRAINING.
    Last edited by son of the revolution; March 24th, 2011 at 11:03 AM.
    Si vis pacem, para bellum
    A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity. -- Sigmund Freud

    Proud to be an Enemy of The State

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Some thoughts on scanning from a motorcyclist perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by son of the revolution View Post
    Does he still run that program at Pocono ?? I've always wanted to go to one, from as far back as when my Dad first talked about us going together when I was in my late teens ( already with a 10 year riding history). We never went because he gave up riding after having a spill/near miss , that was to much a reminder of the one he had in '73 on a Triumph that almost killed him when I was an infant.
    Yep and also down a NJMP in Milleville.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Some thoughts on scanning from a motorcyclist perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Exbiker View Post
    Yep and also down a NJMP in Milleville.
    Oh hell, thats even better ! NJMP is no more then 30 mins from my place. Now all I gotta do is recover from my busted leg, get one of my settlements to come thru and go by a new bike
    Si vis pacem, para bellum
    A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity. -- Sigmund Freud

    Proud to be an Enemy of The State

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Some thoughts on scanning from a motorcyclist perspective.

    They provide the bikes. BMW S1000RR. They'll be down your way in August and September.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Some thoughts on scanning from a motorcyclist perspective.

    You are right about the scanning and the importance of off-center vision in low light conditions.

    It is also great to remember Reg Pridmore, Pierre "Flog Dog" Des Roches, Cook Nielsen, and company from the days when strong motors, terrific riders, and innovative minds made racers out of what was flexible flyer frames...............

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