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How can motorists really “see” motorcycles?

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2020 | Firm News

Driving requires a responsibility to share the road, regardless of the vehicle you own and operate. Commercial truckers are typically well-aware of their blind spots. However, those in family vehicles may not recognize the potential dangers of decreased visibility.

Unfortunately, the smaller the mode of transportation, the more difficult it can be to see. A motorcycle’s size often factors into motor vehicle accident statistics. Yet, are there other reasons why drivers do not see bikers?

Is there a scientific reason for motorcycle accidents?

Hopefully, you take a thorough look at the traffic around you before turning or moving into an adjacent lane. Still, one study about “looked-but-failed-to-see” crashes suggests that despite looking, your brain may not process necessary safety information.

While surveyed participants admitted a probability of bikers on the road, many did not identify the presence of a motorcycle in roadway photos they were shown. If our brains have to filter too much sensory information when we get behind the wheel, we must increase our consciousness when we shift into gear.

Three considerations for sharing the road with bikers

Other drivers are often at fault for bike crashes, with over 50% of motorcycle fatalities involving another vehicle. Yet, some motorists may be of the general understanding that bikers do not ride safely.

While that may be the case in certain circumstances, you must consider the challenges bikers face as they ride.

  • Braking capabilities. Rolling off the throttle or downshifting is a typical way for a biker to adjust speed. You cannot rely on seeing brake lights ahead of you to determine whether you need to slow down.
  • Slide potential. Though motorcycles are designed for maneuverability, inclement weather or roadway debris could easily send a bike into a skid. Additionally, your quick or careless lane change may cause a rider to lay down their bike.
  • Injury severity. Because a motorcyclist lacks the protection of an enclosed vehicle, a traffic incident can leave a biker severely hurt. Common body part injuries among bikers include the head, spine and abdomen. And far too often, accidents take a life.

Although motorists do not intentionally inflict harm on another individual, a lack of understanding and perception about traffic around you could leave you questioning your decision-making and driving abilities. Rather than living with the guilt of injuring someone on a motorcycle, exercise increased caution in the driver’s seat.