Whether you’re on a motorcycle or a bike, riding a two-wheeled vehicle on the street is significantly more dangerous than driving in a vehicle. Vehicles like cars, trucks and SUV’s have protection and safety features such as seatbelts, airbags, and large steel frames to prevent passengers from being crushed. The lack of protection for cyclist makes them more prone to serious injuries. While a high majority of drivers have become more aware of the safety of riders, there are still a percentage or drivers who choose to drive while distracted or under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The reasons drivers may fail to see motorcyclists and cyclists have been the same reasons for many years, and it is important to continue to address them while advocating for the safety of cyclists.
The most rampant reason why drivers get into accidents—especially with motorcycles and bikes—is due to the fact that they’re driving while distracted. In most cases, the person will be looking at their phone instead of paying attention to the road.
Other causes of distracted driving include looking at something that is not on the road, scanning the radio, doing makeup, eating, or addressing children or pets in the back seat. Drivers need to understand that they are not the only ones on the road and should continuously be aware of their surroundings while behind the wheel.
Not Checking Properly Before Merging
Accidents while merging are common between vehicle accidents, but even more common when a motorcycle or bike is involved. This is because both types of bikes are smaller and harder to see when checking before merging. Most drivers quickly glance before they move over and don’t thoroughly check their blind spots. This can lead to the car hitting the bike at high speeds or running them off the road. Motorcycles and bicycles are much smaller than traditional vehicles and their visibility is limited while on the road. Cyclist should try to stay out of vehicle’s blind spots and try to make themselves seen by surrounding vehicles.
Driving Under the Influence
People who are drunk or high can have trouble seeing or focusing while sitting or standing, but some choose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Not being fully alert on the road is extremely dangerous, not only for the driver, but for everyone else on the road. Drunk drivers are more likely to be involved in car accidents than sober drivers, and the severity of accidents is increased. Drunk drivers or drivers under the influence can cause serious damages and injuries to cyclist. Often tines, drunk drivers are traveling at a higher rate of speed than others on the road and increased speeds colliding with a bicycle can lead to catastrophic injuries for the cyclist. If cyclist are riding in the evenings and night, it is important to illuminate yourself and your bike to be visible to other drivers. Also, things like ear buds and headphones should not be worn while cycling due to the risk of blocking out vehicle noises.
A recently published study by Krieten Pammer, professor of Psychology and associate dean of science at Australian National University stated that there’s a high potential for a large portion of drivers to have inattentional blindness. Inattentional blindness occurs when a driver is looking directly at you but doesn’t seem to notice that you’re there. It is defined as “…when an individual fails to perceive an unexpected stimulus in plain sight, purely as a result of a lack of attention rather than any vision defects…”, When a driver is not expecting to see a cyclist on the road, it may be hard for the driver to recognize that the cyclist is there. In the study, participants were way more likely to notice the cars in the pictures shown than the motorcycles. A more common study of inattentional blindness was conducted by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris in 1999 known as the Invisible Gorilla Test.
Inattentional Blindness seems to be an increasing factor in auto and bicycling accidents and researchers are continuing to discover the root cause and how to prevent or reduce the risk of inattentional blindness.
What To Do If You Fall Victim
If you were injured by a vehicle while riding a motorcycle or bicycle, you may be able to pursue a legal claim for damages. Often times cyclists are the innocent victims in these types of negligent acts, and more attention needs to be placed on rider safety. Initiatives such as Look Twice for Bikes promotes awareness, but more needs to be done.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle crash, contact the Corpus Christi bicycle accident lawyers at The Patel Firm PLLC. Our personal injury attorneys will work to recover all of your deserved compensation for your injuries.
The reasons drivers may fail to see motorcyclists and cyclists are all too common factors in accidents. Next time you’re on the road, be alert and stay aware, it could save a life. Contact us today by calling us at (361) 400-2036.