Look where you want to go! Steer the bike with your eyes! You go where you look! How often have we motorcyclists heard these phrases?
Looking where you want to go obviously relates to vision, an important sense for everyday life; however when we introduce motorcycles, the importance of vision increases dramatically, not just as an essential tool for high performance riding and racing, but also for survival on the road.
The fact is most of us are damaging our vision, namely our peripheral vision, with our modern lifestyle of sitting in front of TV and computer screens. Compared to our ancestors, our visual field has narrowed dramatically.
If we get into the habit of looking directly at objects while restricting the awareness of our surrounding field of view, it’s comparable to not fully using other areas of our body.
For example if we routinely only bend our knee ten degrees, you could imagine this bad habit of restricted movement would ultimately lead to poor function, soreness, and long-term damage.
It’s safe to assume that our vision also follows the familiar “use it or lose it” rule that is evident in other areas of our body. In other words, if we only use one part of our visual field, the rest of our visual circuitry will begin to go inactive. So how important is peripheral vision to our riding and what can we do to increase our visual performance?