Target fixation

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Target fixation

Target Fixation is real. Your motorcycle goes where you're looking. But why? Your eyes, after all, are not holding the handlebars and you frequently scan directions other than the one you're traveling in without your bike wandering all over the road. Is it magic? Or perhaps an undiscovered law of physics?

The idea that your motorcycle will go where you're looking is merely phenomenon that virtually all drivers (of any kind of vehicle) have experienced before: that if you turn your head you tend to STEER in the direction you're looking. In fact, it might be clearer to simply acknowledge that it is almost impossible to steer in any direction other than the one you are looking at. ALL of your prior experience has taught you how to steer your vehicle where you want it to go. So, if you look where you want to go, you kick in all that prior experience and AUTOMATICALLY steer in that direction.

There is no magic here nor is there a hidden law of physics involved. Your bike (or automobile) TENDS to go in the direction you are looking because, via experience, you have taught yourself to steer, more or less subconsciously.

To take advantage of that phenomenon you merely need to actively look in the direction you want to go - away from danger. The rest is virtually subconscious reaction. Of course it takes more than a turn of your eyes or even your head. You still need to steer away from danger. Since it is HARD to steer away from what you're looking at, and easy (almost automatic) to steer in the direction you are looking, surely it makes sense to look where you want to go.

But we have also been well advised to keep our head and eyes 'up' and pointed at the horizon. Surely looking down will not cause a motorcycle to go down, or will it?

Well, not directly. If you are in a skid, however, and look down the odds are overwhelming that you will go down. That, because you will have failed to actively steer the bike in such a way as to try to keep it upright. But that's only one reason why you should keep your head up and eyes looking at the horizon. The other is that only by doing so can you actively scan for hazards or know, for sure, if your bike is vertical. But that's another story.