Inattentional blindness and why ‘It matters’ for motorcyclists

Motorcycle in traffic in town

One of the most common statements by drivers when involved in a collision with a motorcyclist is “I just didn’t see him/her.” Without a doubt the “right turner” is the most dangerous situation a motorcyclist faces while riding. Statistics show that more motorcyclists get hurt and killed at intersections by a right turning driver than any other cause. Given that motorcyclists are less common than cars, inattentional blindness is likely to be the cause of the accident as the car driver expects other cars but not bikes. Because of inattention, the brain does not always see what the eyes are looking at. It may be difficult to believe that a responsible driver can look-but-fail-to-see a motorcycle before it’s late to avoid a collision, however, ironically, it seems the more experienced and capable the driver, the increased prevalence of inattention as they have more chance to develop expectations and have these expectations re-inforced. The RAC have prepared a video highlighting the state of Inattention.

As a motorcyclist, the best safety device is your brain. Where the risk of bodily harm is increased, the motorcyclist usually pays attention to these potential risks and dangers, particularly inattention. The reason being, that it is usually the motorcyclist who pays the price of this inattention. 

It  is important to remember that seeing is believing but also believing is seeing.

Digby Brown's specialist motorcycle solicitors are on Twitter, Follow them @BikeLawScotland

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