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Why don’t other drivers see motorcycles?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | Car Accidents

After another driver causes a motorcycle accident, it’s very common for the driver to tell the motorcyclist – or the authorities – that they never saw the bike. Perhaps they turned in front of a motorcycle, instead of yielding the right of way. They’ll say that they did look, they never saw the motorcycle, and they didn’t know they were cutting it off until the bike collided with the side of their car.

There is something to be said about the small size of motorcycles, which makes them harder to spot. There are certainly some drivers who will look directly at a motorcycle without noticing that it’s approaching their vehicle. But is there something deeper going on here, other than vehicle size?

Inattentional blindness 

There’s another phenomenon, often called inattentional blindness. Essentially, your brain is always trying to sort through various stimuli and outside information. It’s trying to make sense of the visual images around you, and so it tends to see what it expects to see.

For some people, they only really expect to see cars or trucks. Someone in a passenger car may check for cross traffic, but they’re trying to make sure they don’t get hit by a pickup truck or semi. They’re not even thinking about motorcycles or looking for them at all. As a result, their brain filters them out, and they simply don’t perceive the motorcycle in their field of vision.

In other words, the driver may not be lying when they say they didn’t see the bike. But that doesn’t mean the accident isn’t their fault if they are the one who made a mistake and caused the crash. Injured motorcyclists need to know how to seek financial compensation from the negligent party.