Driving is dangerous and often much more so when you don’t have the protection of an enclosed vehicle. Those who have long enjoyed riding on motorcycles know that they take their lives in their hands on the streets and are likely careful to avoid dangerous situations.
The sad truth is that a significant portion of motorcycle crashes are the result not of something the motorcyclist did but actions taken or not taken by someone in a four-wheeled vehicle. The person responsible for the crash may not even suffer any injuries, despite putting the motorcycle rider in the hospital and destroying their vehicle.
Why are drivers so often to blame for crashes between enclosed vehicles and motorcycles?
They don’t notice the motorcycle near them
Drivers may exclaim that the motorcyclist they hit “came out of nowhere,” but often they failed to notice the motorcycle. The tragic reason that so many motorcycle crashes occur is that people in bigger vehicles simply don’t take the time to check for motorcyclists. Instead, they absent-mindedly scan traffic without mentally checking for important risk factors, like pedestrians and motorcycles.
Psychologists call this phenomenon inattentional blindness. A driver has so much to look at it and think about when they drive that their brain prioritizes the biggest risks. A driver will notice a semitruck right away but could look right at a motorcycle and never mentally register its presence in the lane next to their vehicle.
How do you fight inattentional blindness?
As a motorcyclist, you can practice defensive driving and invest in visibility gear to protect you from the poor driving habits of others. The only way for drivers to counter this psychological phenomenon is to specifically make a mental effort to look for motorcycles, pedestrians and bicycles. Otherwise, they may fail to see someone and cause a major collision.
Inattentional blindness is an explanation, not an excuse. While there is a scientific explanation for why drivers don’t see motorcycles, the explanation does not justify or forgive their oversights. Individuals hurt in motorcycle collisions caused by a driver who claims to not have seen the bike can still file insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits over their losses.
Knowing your rights after a motorcycle crash can help you connect with the compensation you deserve.