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Most motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers not seeing riders

Popular culture likes to depict motorcycle riders as reckless by showing them taking unnecessary risks with their lives on a regular basis. Despite how movies and television shows enjoy depicting motorcycle riders performing unsafe traffic maneuvers and wild stunts, the average motorcycle rider is very safety cautious.

Motorcycle enthusiasts understand that every ride exposes them to significant risk, and they probably go to great lengths to keep themselves as safe as possible. Many motorcycle riders wear special protective gear, routinely inspect and maintain their motorcycles and are proactive about being as safe as possible in traffic.

Despite their efforts, their well-being is most at risk because of the conduct of others. Many motorcycle crashes occur because of something that people in larger vehicles do or fail to do. One of the leading causes of motorcycle collisions is actually a failure to notice a motorcycle in traffic.

How do people fail to see motorcycles?

A motorcycle is much smaller than a car or a pickup truck, but it is still a large, loud vehicle. The idea that someone could overlook a motorcycle in traffic is almost laughable. In reality, people do not fail to see the motorcycle. Their eyes likely look right at the motorcycle. What happens is their brain doesn’t focus on the motorcycle.

Psychologists refer to this experience as intentional blindness. When the brain has too much incoming visual information to focus on everything, it prioritizes what it believes is crucial to someone’s safety. An approaching semi-truck warrants an immediate response and is likely to draw someone’s attention because it is large and dangerous.

A smaller vehicle like a motorcycle doesn’t pose much of a threat, and therefore someone’s brain may not alert the driver to the motorcycle’s presence even though it is plainly visible across the intersection from them. The only way that drivers can avoid unintentionally causing a crash where they put a motorcycle rider in the hospital or worse is to make an effort to actively look for motorcycles in traffic.

That is why many people have bumper stickers and yard signs advising people to watch for motorcycles. The conscious effort to screen for motorcycles could be the difference between life and death for the people on motorcycles.

When a distracted or inattentive driver causes a motorcycle crash, the motorcycle rider or their surviving family members may need to take legal action. Filing an insurance claim, personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit can help hold a negligent driver accountable for hurting someone on a motorcycle.