When I was a child, riding in the back of my father's big Pontiac Station wagon, I remember the ride was fun for about 30 minutes; after that, I just wanted to get out. Sure, it was fun sliding around on that big metal floor every time we made a turn, but I always felt a little queasy. As I got older, I graduated to the back seat of that rolling tank. However, even though I was only sliding on one axis instead of two by sitting on that plush vinyl seat, I still felt queasy...maybe even more so. It wasn't until I grew a bit more, got a little taller and when I could clearly see outside the windows, that the queasiness started to go away.
Many years passed since then, and it wasn't until recently that I ever gave it another thought. You know, I know of many people who get motion sickness in a car, including my wife (she is only 4'11.5"); yet I have never heard of anyone getting motion sickness on a motorcycle (although I am sure there are a few). As a side note; animals have a high tendency to get sick in a car as well. Being that it is so much more common for people in a car, I wondered why this is.
In 1999, a study was done in the UK that suggests motion sickness is directly related to your view outside the vehicle. Could that be a subconscious reason never want to drive anything but motorcycles once we get on them? I used to wear a full-faced helmet. True, it is safer and quieter; but for the past few years, I have only worn 3/4 helmets. My 3/4 helmet gives me 100% FOV (Field of View). I find myself much more relaxed when I am driving with a 3/4 helmet, as opposed to a full-faced helmet.
This brings me to my last thought: Some of the American auto manufacturers (Dodge and Chevrolet come to mind) have been producing vehicles in the past few years that have a much higher belt line and smaller windows. Sure, this looks really cool, but I imagine that most of the people driving them are not as happy driving them as say a simple Honda Civic, or some other vehicle with large windows. The last time I had to rent a vehicle, I walked up to the Emerald Isle and found a new fleet of Dodge and Chevy vehicles. I thought to myself, "this is my chance to take that Chevy HHR on a weekend run". I sat down in the driver seat, and it didn't take me 10 seconds to get a sinking feeling. I immediately got out and chose a drab 4-door sedan.
I guess what I am trying to say is that it doesn't matter how cool a car looks or handles if you have poor visibility. It isn't just for safety, but also for the way it makes you feel inside.
For those of you interested in reading the study, you can find it here: