What’s No Surprise? No Accident! all about?
Motorcycle crashes are frequently blamed on human error and often linked to ‘attitude’ and ‘behaviour’. However, most crashes do not involve ‘bad apples’ with an extensive history of law-breaking and driving violations. Most crashes happen to ‘ordinary’ riders doing what they thought was an everyday thing.
Explanations for crashes such as “too fast for the circumstances” are unhelpful at best, and meaningless at worst. Clearly as the rider didn’t crash twenty metres earlier, he wasn’t “too fast” just then. What we need to understand is just WHY the rider made the critical decisions in the last few seconds, in the last few hundred metres that resulted in the loss of control.
Why do riders crash on corners? If our conclusion is “because they don’t have enough training to ride around corners”, then just how did they get to the corner they crashed on? How did they get round the very first corner on the very first ride? “More training” isn’t the answer – if we don’t know why existing training doesn’t stop people crashing on bends, why should we think that more training will help?
Rather than blame the rider for poor decisions or lack of skills, we want to move forward and understand what was it about the environment that failed to trigger some self-preservation. We want to understand why a rider’s assessment of the road just a few seconds ahead was faulty.
What we believe to be the trigger for many faulty decision is nothing more complicated than surprise – something the rider hadn’t foreseen as happening actually happens.
Surprise is known to break down trained responses. The most common collision involving a motorcycle happens at junctions, yet a common theme of collisions at junctions is that rider had space to stop, but failed to do so. Traditionally we have blamed ‘lack of skill’ in evasive action, but we’ve been training riders to make emergency stops for decades. The problem is far more likely to lie in how we respond to surprise – by hesitating or freezing, thus delaying or totally negating the trained response of hard braking.
Our conclusion is that improving rider safety depends on getting riders better at predicting what goes wrong, understanding when things are going wrong and thus being able to deploy the skills to ‘avoid and evade’ when needed.
And that’s’ what our simple memes are aimed at:
GAPS = TRAPS
and of course,
NO SURPRISE? NO ACCIDENT!
The ‘new view’ is gathering momentum!