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The Lawrence Firm Blog

Studies show that people do not see motorcycles

The notorious left-turn accident is one every motorcyclist worries about. It happens when an oncoming car ahead of the motorcycle makes that left turn. It crosses the motorcycle’s lane. If there isn’t enough room to complete the turn, the motorcycle hits the side of the car. In some cases, riders attempt to avoid a crash, but that often means laying the bike down or swerving into oncoming lanes. No matter how this plays out, it’s extremely dangerous.

This can happen at intersections, but the true threat is often on a two-way road without an intersection between the vehicles. Consider, for instance, a driver coming home from work, with their home on the left side of the road. They stop in the proper lane, as there is traffic coming toward them. They wait for it to go by. When it does, they turn toward the driveway.

The problem is that they didn’t see the motorcycle. It was in that gap in the traffic. By the time they realize what’s happened, it’s too late.

“I never saw you!”

A common refrain from drivers, after something like this takes place, is that they didn’t see the motorcycle. In many cases, this leads to accusations of speeding or reckless driving. People assume that the rider must have done something wrong to suddenly be on the road like that.

However, studies have found that the fault often lies with the driver. The problem is just that they didn’t see the bike. It was there. They didn’t see it.

This is shockingly common. In one study, people looked at a similar photograph multiple times. The final time they saw it, it appeared very similar to the photo they’d seen before, but researchers had used Photoshop to add either a taxi or a motorcycle.

Nearly half of the people (48%) said nothing was different. They didn’t see either vehicle. Of those who missed everything, though, 31% did not see the taxi. A massive 65% did not see the motorcycle.

Often, motorcycles are small and fast. They come in black, gray, blue and other dark colors that blend into the road. But that’s not to put the blame on the riders. Even riding a bright red bike and driving at the speed limit does not mean a driver isn’t going to simply fail to see the motorcycle. And, even when the bike is black or another color that blends in, drivers still have an obligation to carefully check and make sure the turn is safe.

What now?

Unfortunately, drivers don’t always do this. It leads to some terrible motorcycle accidents. If you get injured and you’re wondering what to do next, you need to know what legal steps you can take.


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