How Vision Keeps You Safe

Safety Tip of the Week
Safety = Seeing

Jesse Murphy from Cascade Motorcycle Safety joined Derek Roberts in our event on motorcycle law. One of the pieces of his course for non-beginner riders is about vision. He pointed out that motorcycle enthusiasts need to practice and use their vision actively and efficiently. He pointed out that there are three kinds of vision:

Central vision covers the smallest range; it’s effective only within a three- to five-degree cone. It’s this type of vision that allows use to see detail, to read, to notice a license plate. Because the area we can focus on with central vision is so small, we need to scan the areas ahead and to the side of us.

Fringe vision takes our line of sight out to about forty-five degrees. In this area, we can’t read, but we can identify colors and shapes. We use it, for instance, to see the yellow and white lines on the road and to identify vehicles.

Peripheral vision goes further to the side than fringe vision. In some people it goes all the way to ninety degrees on either side. This is the type of vision that warned our distant ancestors about predators like saber-tooth tigers. Although it covers the widest range, it is also the most limited. It cannot be used to identify colors or shapes, and certainly not to read, but it catches movement and so serves as our “early warning system” for everything from animals coming out of the woods, to a ball coming from a playground, to a car coming fast beside us.

Understanding these types of vision and learning to use them efficiently can help keep us safe on the road. To learn more, contact Jesse.

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