It can be difficult for the human eye to identify and perceive the speed of a single point on the horizon. In an attempt to address the phenomenon known as ‘looked but failed to see’ the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council of New Zealand investigated different headlight configurations to make motorcyclists more conspicuous and to improve speed and distance perception from drivers at intersections.
The studies showed that lighting configurations that accentuate the form of the motorcycle aided in observers determining the time of arrival of the bike at the intersection. They also found that light colour can be effective as a means of increasing the ‘search conspicuity’ (ie. the amount the rider stands out from its surrounds).