Why Do Drivers Fail to See Motorcyclists in Plain Sight?

May 10, 2021

While it may be obvious that cars and trucks share the road with motorcycles, why do so many motor vehicle drivers fail to see them? Accidents involving motorcycles happen every day, and many times the first thing a driver says is that they never even saw the motorcycle before the crash. As a result, both medical and legal issues occur, creating a confusing array of back-and-forth accusations that are stressful for all parties involved.

If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to be adequately compensated for your medical expenses and property losses. Inattentive driving is often at the heart of these crashes, which can also lead to a phenomenon called inattentional blindness. A personal injury law firm with experience in motorcycle accidents understands these causes and knows how to review your case and provide the representation you need and deserve after being struck by a driver while riding your motorcycle.

What Is Inattentional Blindness?

According to scientific studies, the claim of not seeing a motorcyclist in plain sight is attributed to something called inattentional blindness. In essence, inattentional blindness is a driver’s failure to notice an unexpected object in plain sight. This is separate from blind spots and is a characteristic of the brain rather than actual blindness.

The human brain processes so much information each day, requiring it to let some things fall lower on its priority list. Since driving requires several simultaneous tasks, the brain determines the most important ones to focus on and filters out the rest. Too often, motorcyclists are filtered out by the brain, and so collisions happen. When this occurs, it is popularly referred to as looked-but-failed-to-see (LBFTS) and is a major cause of motorcycle accidents.

Even the safest vehicle drivers on the road are at risk of missing motorcyclists near them. You can be out riding on the clearest day with little traffic, and a car might still pull out in front of you. It may even appear that the driver of the car was looking directly at you before it happened.

Drivers expect to see other cars or trucks on the road along with them but often overlook motorcycles. Finding ways to make yourself more visible can help.

How Can You Make Yourself More Visible?

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and understanding the phenomenon of inattentional blindness is essential, as are measures you can take to become more visible out on the roadways. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Promote additional training for drivers of all types of vehicles to learn to watch and train their brains to actually see and recognize when motorcycles are around them.
  • Join in supporting public safety campaigns such as “Look Twice, Save A Life!” and “Motorcycles Are Everywhere!” Their goal is to educate drivers about the importance of being on the lookout while they drive. This repetitive message will help put motorcyclists on the brain’s radar, making them a priority going forward.
  • Add reflectors to your motorcycle and constantly check your lights. Add additional lights to your bike’s front, rear, and sides, and always stay aware of your surroundings.
  • Wear brighter colors or jackets with reflective tape meant to capture attention. If you can’t give up that black leather jacket, add color to your helmet and gloves.
  • Be loud, whether with your muffler or by playing music. The more human senses you can alert, the safer you will be.
  • Remain defensive in your driving; constantly aware of aggressive drivers and tailgaters.
  • Realize that although drivers look directly at you, they may not “see” you in many instances, so be prepared to respond to their sudden movements.

These efforts are needed to encourage drivers to acknowledge the motorcyclists on the road with them. However, you can only do so much. Drivers themselves must be diligent in becoming and remaining aware throughout the day and night. When they’re not, and you’re injured as a result, consult with a skilled motorcycle accident attorney to get the compensation you deserve.

Get Experienced Legal Help for Your Motorcycle Accident

After a crash, the experienced legal team at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers in Louisiana will thoroughly review your case and confidently determine the best way to proceed based on your particular circumstances.

Even though inattentional blindness is recognized here in Louisiana, drivers who looked-but-failed-to-see can still be held liable for your accident. Experience the Dudley DeBosier Difference by contacting our Louisiana motorcycle accident attorneys today to represent you.