blog home Motorcycle Accidents Why Do Drivers of Cars Often Fail to Spot Motorcyclists?

Why Do Drivers of Cars Often Fail to Spot Motorcyclists?

By Texas Personal Injury Lawyer on August 20, 2023

Motorcyclist on the road on a highway with cars

Traffic collisions involving motorcycles can lead to severe injuries. Motorcycles are the smallest vehicles that travel on the roads and highways and, as a result, can be more challenging to see for other drivers.

From the perspective of other passenger cars, motorcycles can be difficult to discern from other cars and objects in the background, especially in heavy traffic or adverse weather conditions. These factors, along with driver inattention, lack of motorcycle awareness, blind spots, and other negligent driving, can lead to serious, catastrophic, or fatal motorcycle collisions.

Driver Inattention and Distraction

A major factor that contributes to motorcycle collisions is distracted and inattentive driving. Distracted driving occurs when something diverts a driver’s attention from the road.

Activities such as texting, phone conversations, engaging with GPS and other phone apps, and gazing at external events—known as “rubbernecking”—can draw the eyes of the driver away from the road, leading to reduced reaction time. As a result, drivers become more prone to sudden maneuvers, sometimes side-swiping motorcycles, to avoid road hazards in time.

Lack of Motorcycle Awareness

Motorcycles make up roughly 3 percent of road traffic in the United States. Accordingly, most drivers do not encounter motorcyclists regularly. Some drivers may have a bias against sharing the road with motorcycles, possibly judging them as they bypass traffic jams. As a result, some drivers may develop negative assumptions about motorcyclists, causing them to drive more aggressively.

While some motorcyclists might illegally engage in lane-splitting, many motorcycles are law-abiding motorists with the right to drive on the road with others in safety. Drivers with an aggressive attitude toward motorcycles can operate a vehicle irresponsibly, causing severe injuries to an innocent rider.

Blind Spots and Lane Changes

There are areas of a passenger vehicle beyond the sight of its driver known as “blind spots.” The blind spots for passenger cars are located to the sides and behind the driver. Passenger cars have rear and side-view mirrors to help drivers get a better look in blind spot areas, but that does not completely mitigate the risks associated with blind spots. Blind spots pose a particular risk when changing lanes, as drivers may not see vehicles in blind spots.

Because motorcycles are so small and narrow when compared to other passenger vehicles, they can completely disappear if in a blind spot. Blind spots are a significant factor for motorcyclists, as passenger vehicles can side-swipe a motorcycle, causing them to lose balance and crash.

Speed and Perception

Motorcycles are much lighter than passenger vehicles, so their overall speed and rate of acceleration is greater than that of cars. As a result, drivers can mistakenly judge the distance of an approaching motorcyclist when changing lanes.

In such situations, a car abruptly turns itself into an obstacle in the path of a swift motorcycle. Drivers who see an oncoming motorcycle should drive defensively, considering the fact that motorcycles at a certain distance can close the gap faster than passenger vehicles.

Road Conditions and Hazards

Motorcycles are susceptible to road hazards such as potholes, debris, and uneven surfaces. Driving a motorcycle requires balance to ensure it remains upright. Otherwise, the bike can fall over and crash. Poor road conditions can easily upset the balance of a motorcycle, leading to catastrophic or fatal injuries.

Drivers should be vigilant and considerate of motorcycles subjected to road hazards, especially if encountering road debris. A car’s tires can launch debris backward, striking cars and motorcycles. Drivers can drive carefully around debris and use their hazard lights to signal to those sharing the road that a dangerous condition is ahead.

Advocacy for Motorcyclist Safety

Personal injury attorneys have seen the negative consequences of motorcycle accidents. In many cases, the injuries associated with motorcycle accidents can be severe, involving bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. If you have experienced a motorcycle accident, your Houston personal injury lawyer can help you receive compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

Contact a Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer You Can Trust

If you are a motorcyclist seeking legal representation for a crash involving driver negligence, you can count on a Houston motorcycle accident attorney at DK Law to advocate for your rights.

Our Sugar Land legal team provides responsive and compassionate service and is fully prepared to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.

Reach out to us at (281) 402-8856 to schedule a free initial consultation.

“DK Law is a great firm. Would trust them with any case. Very professional and knowledgeable about what is in client’s best interests.”
- Lea T.