The Birds Eye View!
When we think about road traffic accidents and specifically here motorcycle collisions and incidents, we may be deceived into thinking that there is a singular major reason or factor that has caused the accident.
“They were going too fast!”, “He came out of nowhere and I had nowhere to go!”, “There was black ice & the car lost control”
Whatever the reason we think has caused the incident or loss of control, the reality is that reason is only part of the full story.
I liken this to pulling triggers and dodging bullets! Either these ‘bullets’ are taking us by surprise and we are having to get out of the way at the last second or we fail to do so and have an accident.
When I look at accident scenes and causes it is virtually always the case that there has been a series of events or influences that led to the final major factor…if those influences were not there, then there would likely not be a major factor. This type of phenomenon is sometimes referred to as a domino effect or cascade effect.
This cascade effect has been extensively investigated over many years in the aviation world, where root causes and successive influential events are analysed to determine the ‘real’ cause of an accident. Sometimes the cascade string is quite short…but sometimes it is quite long and complicated.
Road traffic accidents in general are no different in this regard.
As well as investigation, the aviation world has also invested extensive time into aviation personnel for the education of recognition of these cascade factors…something that we have not realised so much in the road transport world.
Having the birds eye view is integral to knowing why accidents occur and how they should be avoided.
I believe this so much that I incorporated a bird’s head into one of the patch & t shirt designs that I made available last year. Slightly trite I know but it demonstrates the core intention to know why accidents occur.
If we acknowledge that ‘triggers are being pulled’ then we can expect them, avoid them and we can deal with them more effectively.
It is not about saying that all hazards or triggers must be stopped, but it is about realising that they exist and how we as riders and road users in general retain & develop coping & avoidance mechanisms.
This education also involves our own ability to pull triggers and cause hazards for ourselves and others, which in severe cases may lead to injury or fatality.