Using a blinking light on your bicycle while riding at night might seem like a wise idea, but did you know that the blinking light could actually get you hit by a car. That’s right, the little light that is meant to save your life when riding in the dark can actually cause a more dangerous situation.
According to Just Ride: A Radially Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike, since the light is constantly blinking it can cause drivers to have a targeted fixation on it. This type of “fixation” can cause the driver to stare at something that stands out. In turn, the driver tends to steer toward the blinking light, not away from it. It might seem like a crazy theory but its not. Roberto Clemente used this same idea, target fixation, to hit baseballs. The method has even been used by airplane pilots that fly at night.
If you still think this is bizarre just think back to the last time you were driving somewhere. Maybe you see something on the side of the road that catches your interest. It may seem that just your eyes are looking at the side of the road but suddenly you turn your head and your car is headed in the direction that you are looking. It’s that fast and that simple.
Highway Patrol officers are a great example of how target fixation and blinking lights don’t mix. On many Highway Patrol YouTube channels there are videos of police cars with their lights on being driven into by drivers because at night that’s all the driver sees. The worse thing about target fixation is the fact that you don’t even know you’re doing it. Just by slightly starring at something for a second or two will cause your body to go that way.
What’s the best way to stop this from happening? Instead of having the light blink continually, keep it on a solid light mode. Although this will use the battery faster it is a lot safer.
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