Why do larger vehicles cause so many motorcycle crashes?

Motorcycles are maneuverable and efficient vehicles, making them ideal for those who want to avoid a crash. Skilled riders can potentially react to the poor choices of others in traffic and may narrowly escape a crash that a larger vehicle could not have avoided.

However skilled a motorcycle rider may be, they will never be able to fully eliminate the risk generated by the negligent and reckless choices of other people in traffic. Riders can control their own decisions and prioritize safety, but the unsafe actions of others in traffic will always be their biggest safety concern. There is one issue, in particular, that motorists cite when explaining why they caused a crash with a motorcycle.

Drivers don’t notice smaller vehicles in traffic

Watching for safety risks is arguably the most demanding part of driving safely. Drivers and motorcycle riders, as well as pedestrians and cyclists, need to constantly scan the road around them to identify issues and react in a timely manner when circumstances near them change. Especially when people travel at high speeds or in areas with a lot of foot traffic, the brain may have a lot of information to process.

Bigger safety concerns will always be the top priority. Other vehicles will draw people’s attention, but smaller objects, like motorcycles, won’t register as a reason for concern at a subconscious level. Therefore, motorists have to intentionally look for motorcycles to actually notice them in their surroundings. It is possible for someone to look right at a motorcycle and not adjust their driving accordingly because they are cognitively unaware of its presence.

What this means for rider safety

There are awareness campaigns that help to remind drivers to check twice and look for motorcycles when turning or merging in traffic. Riders can also adjust their personal habits to reduce their risk. Defensive habits in traffic can make a major difference in someone’s safety.

If riders do end up hurt in a crash caused by someone who didn’t notice their presence, they may be able to pursue an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. Taking appropriate action following a motorcycle collision – including seeking legal guidance – can potentially help to defray the losses someone has and will continue to suffer due to another driver’s ill-advised behavior.