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Passenger Vehicles and the Invisible Motorcycle

On behalf of The Law Offices of Howard Kornberg Posted in Motorcycle Accident

If you ride a motorcycle, you have no doubt experienced drivers acting like you are not even there. They may turn in front of you or into you, make an unsafe lane change into your lane even after checking their blind spot, follow too closely, back into you in a parking lot, or out of a driveway into your path. Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorneys know that because of these behaviors, motorcycle riders have to drive defensively and assume that other drivers do not know they are there.

Drive defensively

By driving defensively, motorcycles may be able to avoid any accidents. Defensive driving conduct includes:

  • Approaching intersections with caution. If a car is in the oncoming lane with his or her left turn signal on, slow down and expect that they may attempt to turn in front of you. Watch for another vehicle’s rolling stop when you have the right of way at the intersection.
  • Tap your brakes when someone is following too closely to make them aware of your presence.
  • Do not drive in a vehicle’s blind spot for any length of time and when you are in their blind spot, be prepared for them to make a sudden lane change.
  • Scan driveways and alleys for cars that are moving to pull out into the street.

Why they do not see you

Time and time again, the drivers of the other vehicles involved in motorcycle accidents state that they just did not see the motorcycle. Even on clear days when nothing is obstructing their vision and motorcycles are right there plain as day, passenger vehicle drivers often fail to see motorcycles. As hard as that is to believe, there may be a psychological explanation behind this phenomenon.

Inattentional blindness toward motorcycles

Several researchers published a study in Human Factors and Ergonomics Society related to this issue of drivers not seeing motorcycles and the results supported a theory that inattentional blindness may be to blame. Inattentional blindness occurs when a person fails to perceive something in plain sight due to his or her lack of attention to it. This is not to say that drivers who do not see motorcycles are not paying attention to the road or their driving, however.

As described by the researchers, when driving, there is a large amount of sensory information that a driver’s brain has to process and it is not possible to process all of it, so a driver’s brain will filter some of it out and process the information that it sees as most important. When a motorcycle is subconsciously filtered out as being less important than other information, drivers may simply not perceive the motorcycle. The good news is that the researchers suggested that you can train the brain to put motorcycles higher on the radar, thus eliminating or reducing inattentional blindness to motorcycles.

If you have sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident due to a driver’s inattentional blindness or any other cause, contact an experienced lawyer at the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg to discuss your claim and recovery options.

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