May 2004 Safety Thoughts

Target Fixation

updated 6/23/2004

by Dave Hansen, Safety Officer


What does the term "Target Fixation" mean?

Target Fixation is a term that describes a phenomenon that causes many accidents. It is the action of seeing a potential hazard, then continuing to look at that potential hazard until it becomes a real hazard.

Simply put, it can be described as going where you look. If you see a corner as the edge of the road with a big ditch and you stare at that ditch, you may very well end up in that ditch. That stare at the hazard tends to paralyze your ability to react and it also helps guide you to where youíre staring.

The solution? Mental preparation.

∑ Learn to look where you want to go.

∑ Practice looking where you want to go.

∑ Stay mentally alert all the time when youíre riding.

∑ Scan ahead.

∑ Identify what you see.

∑ Think about what youíre seeing.

∑ Pick out potential hazards and make mental decisions on what you need to do to avoidthem.

∑ Then follow through, look where you want to go and consciously react.

Remember this:

After you pick your feet up & are moving, motorcycling is almost all mental.

Iíve always said Iím not a very good rider. Many of my friends I ride with think Iím a fairly good rider.

I know I canít apex a corner because I have limited depth perception.

But what I can do is stay alert mentally, identify potential hazards, anticipate, and react as consciously as I can.

In short, I ride mentally. Whether Iím leading or following.

And all of you can too.

∑ Think.

∑ Stay mentally active & alert.

∑ Look where you want to go.

∑ Learn to avoid mental fixation.

Ride Safe!


Words of Safety