The People’s Lawyer

Why don’t drivers see motorcycles? 

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

It’s fairly common for drivers to say that they didn’t see a motorcycle if they get involved in an accident. They had no idea that they were about to cause the crash. Maybe they turned in front of the motorcycle, for instance, or merged into it. Maybe they just pulled out in front of the motorcycle when they should’ve yielded the right of way. Regardless of the exact mistake they made, their excuse is that they never saw the bike in the first place.

But how could this happen? There are certainly cases where drivers are just distracted or can’t see due to lighting and weather conditions, but a big part of it is just the way that the human brain absorbs information from the world at large. This can lead to something called inattentional blindness.

Objects in plain sight

Inattentional blindness is basically when someone can’t see something even though it’s in plain sight. They look at it, their brain never registers it and they are surprised to find out that it’s there. This is often what happens to drivers who look directly at motorcycles and run into them anyway.

Some researchers have noted that driving can lead to sensory overload. The brain has to handle an incredible amount of information at quick speeds. This can sometimes cause it to filter out information that isn’t expected or that it is less familiar with – including motorcycles. The brain has to prioritize all of the data that is being processed. If motorcycles are less common, drivers don’t anticipate them, and that lack of awareness can actually keep those drivers from seeing the bikes at all. 

Have you been injured? 

Motorcycle accidents are very dangerous and they can often lead to extensive injuries. Those who have been hurt need to know if they have a right to financial compensation.