Purpose of proposed invention: save lives and prevent injuries from motorcycle collisions with vehicles.
A simple beacon / receiver unit momentarily interrupts a vehicles audio system when a motorcycle approaches, emitting a brief pre-recorded message, tone, light or combination to alert vehicle drivers a motorcycle is in the immediate vicinity to prevent collisions. Recently available commercial technology can be utilized as the backbone of the system.
An electronic beacon on a motorcycle broadcasts over short distances to receivers in vehicles to alert drivers that a motorcycle is in the vicinity. Notification can be visual, audible or both.
The human brain is a sophisticated “threat-assessment engine;” constantly scanning the environment for conditions that would threaten the health and well-being of the person (instinctual self-preservation). In a matter of microseconds decisions are made and manifested as physical reactions without the benefit of thoughtful intervention; these actions are instinctual, honed from thousands of years of natural selection and evolution.
The majority of motorcycle accidents are not the fault of the motorcycle operator but due rather to interactions with other vehicles on the road. Many of these accidents involving other vehicles occur simply because the driver of the other vehicle simply did not “see” the motorcyclist prior to the accident; why does this happen?
This phenomenon of not “seeing” the smaller vehicle among the other vehicles on the road has its basis in evolution. As we all may remember from our high school biology classes, many of the evolutionary survival mechanisms of prey animals involves simulating an increase in size - like standing up, puffing up the head and neck, deploying flaps of skin, etc. which is perceived as a greater threat to the predator and results in a greater survival likelihood of the prey animal. Our own evolution is to blame for our lack of recognition to the presence of a motorcycle in a surrounding field of much larger threats.
By performing this simple experiment one can verify this phenomenon. When pulling out into traffic from a stop, do you make a different decision about pulling out in front of a truck versus a car when both seem to be at the same distance and traveling at the same speed? If your answer is that you allow more distance or time for a larger vehicle than a smaller one, count yourself among the many that might not “see” the smaller motorcycle (or bicyclist, pedestrian, etc.). Many experienced motorcyclists interviewed for this project share common stories of near miss accidents where perceived “eye-contact” with drivers of other vehicles (a strategy often taught as a key component of defensive motorcycle riding) still results in the vehicle driver pulling out in front of the motorcyclist “as if [they] were not even there.”
This technology will temporarily awaken the brain of the other vehicle operator to the presence of a motorcycle and provide temporary heightened awareness that could serve to save the lives and injuries of many motorcyclists.