Motorcycles are big, loud and frequently shiny. They are eye-catchingly dramatic on the road, as are the fashions often worn by the people who ride them.
Despite how obvious motorcycles seem to most people on the roads, a surprising number of drivers claim they didn’t see a motorcycle when they cause a crash with one. How did so many people fail to notice large, loud machines right next to them on the road?
The human brain can only process so much information at once
Those who study human behavior and the human brain recognize how taxing of an activity driving can be. Your brain has to sort out a constant flow of information from your eyes as you move through multiple different environments at a very high speed.
It would be impossible for your brain to focus on and remember every little detail while you’re driving, so instead it focuses on what it thinks is the most important. Generally, your brain will prioritize visual stimuli that seem to present a threat. The first priority of your brain will always be to keep you safe.
Drivers will usually notice other vehicles as large as their own, but smaller vehicles like motorcycles, as well as pedestrians, could be something they miss mentally even if they look right at the person or motorcycle.
Although the phenomenon known as inattentional blindness described above can explain why drivers cause motorcycle crashes, it does not give them an excuse. Actively looking for motorcycles can prevent such crashes if drivers take the time to do so. Recognizing why many motorcycle crashes occur can help you push for justice if someone injures you when you are on your bike.