Motorcycle riders are required to receive additional education and training to operate their vehicle of choice. Those with a license to ride a motorcycle are often more careful and skilled drivers than those who only ever learn how to operate one type of motor vehicle. They are also often acutely aware of how small mistakes on a motorcycle can lead to catastrophic consequences.
Despite the extra education and skill required to be a motorcycle rider, those on motorcycles often end up hurt in severe crashes. Frequently, these collisions are the fault of another driver, not the person on the motorcycle. When such crashes occur, the other drivers often insist that they never saw the motorcycle to begin with. How do people fail to notice motorcycles on the road?
Why do people fail to notice motorcycles on the road?
Everyone on the road has the responsibility to pay attention to their surroundings, and that includes other vehicles no matter how small or large. Often, car-drivers forgo that responsibility in the following ways:
- Distracted driving: looking at text messages, manipulating the radio, GPS or other controls all take a driver’s attention from the road.
- Drunk – or drugged – driving: Driving while intoxicated or on drugs is a known hazard, but some drivers continue with these behaviors.
- Aggressive driving: Many drivers are “me first” kind of drivers and consider their need to make their turn or lane change more important than whether there is a bike nearby and sometimes fail to leave enough room between their vehicle and motorcyclists.
Additionally, external factors like inclement weather, exceedingly bad road conditions or heavy traffic can all compound the hazards posed by a driver’s inattentiveness, impaired state or aggressive driving.
How can motorcycle riders protect themselves?
There’s no way for someone on a motorcycle to force others to think about motorcycles or prioritize safety. The best they can do is to remain aware of their surroundings so that they can better anticipate when other drivers may make unsafe maneuvers and to be aware of any escape paths that may be available in those situations. Motorcyclists who are more defensive in their approach to riding may be in a better position to prevent a crash due to the acts of an unsafe driver. Automobile drivers should be on the lookout for motorcyclists and try to maintain as large of space cushion as possible between their vehicle and motorcyclists. All persons, whether driving a car or riding a motorcycle should drive defensively and be aware of the threats posed by other motorists.