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Why do drivers always say that they didn’t see the motorcycle after a crash?

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2021 | Car Accidents

With warmer weather, the desire to get your motorcycle back out on the road comes on strong. Unfortunately, some motorcyclists in Pennsylvania are seriously hurt every year in crashes caused by people in vehicles.

One of the first things people frequently say after they crash in to a motorcycle is that they somehow failed to see the massive piece of machinery right in front of them. Why is it that so many drivers don’t seem to notice motorcycles?

Smaller vehicles pose less of a risk and are less of a priority to the brain

Driving requires that the eyes and brain constantly assess the environment for signs of danger. There is a constant process of trying to determine what poses a risk of harm and what is not a concern. Most of this happens on an unconscious level. Your brain focuses on what it thinks constitutes a threat to your safety.

Motorcycles often don’t reach the threshold for risk that’s necessary for conscious awareness. In research done on inattentional blindness while driving, researchers found that roughly twice as many people noticed a taxi cab as a motorcycle. The cab, being larger, posed more of a threat to the driver, which made the brain prioritize awareness of that information.

What does inattentional blindness mean for you as a motorcyclist?

Understanding that drivers aren’t intentionally ignoring you may help you plan to catch their eye. Visibility can reduce your risk of a serious crash.

Understanding the science behind why drivers hit motorcycles can also help you if you need to take legal action against the irresponsible driver who caused you serious injuries and a trashed bike.