Collisions between motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles often lead to catastrophic injuries and property damage. The person on the motorcycle will be at greater risk of massive damage to their vehicle and severe injury than those in the enclosed motor vehicle.
Although there are situations in which motorcyclists contribute to the crashes that hurt them or wreck their bikes, such collisions are frequently the result of bad choices or mistakes by the people in the larger vehicles involved.
Motorcyclists can protect themselves by avoiding certain risk factors, like going out for a ride after drinking. However, they cannot protect themselves from one of the most common reasons that drivers hit motorcycles.
People don’t watch for motorcycles
When someone in an SUV performs a rolling stop at an intersection and then crashes into a motorcycle, their defense of what happened will almost always be the same. They will tell the police officer or any witnesses that they didn’t see the motorcycle.
While motorcycles are certainly smaller than motor vehicles, they are large and loud. It seems bizarre that people would claim to not notice a piece of machinery that weighs several hundred pounds, especially at an intersection should check for other vehicles before proceeding.
The truth is that people in cars could look right at a motorcycle and never realize it is there. The psychological phenomenon of inattentional blindness explains why it is so easy for people to overlook motorcycles and also pedestrians or cyclists. Every driver on the road experiences inattentional blindness, which means that they may not see you even when you are clearly visible.
Your brain has to sort so much incoming visual information when you drive that it prioritizes what you intentionally think about and what it considers the biggest threat to you. Your brain will almost always draw your attention to an approaching commercial truck or city bus, but it may not raise a red flag about motorcycles or bicycles near you because they are smaller and therefore pose less risk.
How can you protect yourself?
The first way to protect yourself from inattentional blindness is to learn defensive driving. If you treat other people like a potential threat on the roads, your extra caution could potentially save your life. The second way to protect yourself is to know the risks if you get into a crash. You may want to consider adding more coverage to your insurance policy and familiarizing yourself with personal injury laws so that you know what steps to take to protect yourself if you do get into a crash.
Learning more about what causes motorcycle collisions could potentially help you avoid one while out on a ride.