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Why are motorcycles so hard to see?

Motorcycles are not uncommon on our roads. In 2018, there were an estimated 8.3 million motorcycles registered in the United States. Many Louisiana residents enjoy commuting and traveling by motorcycle for both work and pleasure.

However, despite the relative commonality of motorcycles on American roads, they remain a somewhat unexpected and unusual sight to see. Because of this, motor vehicle drivers sometimes inadvertently miss them on roads and highways and cause dangerous motorcycle accidents in the process. This post will briefly discuss some of the reasons that motorcycles and their riders are missed by drivers, but this post should not be used as legal advice or guidance.

Blind spots

Blind spots refer to the area around a vehicle that a driver cannot see with their mirrors. Drivers should check their blind spots visually, by looking around, before changing lanes or maneuvering. Many motorcycle collisions happen because motorcycles are in vehicles’ blind spots and drivers fail to check for them.

Visual recognition

Visual recognition is a concept related to what a person is used to seeing. Relative to larger vehicles, motorcycles are relatively unusual and may not be something a driver sees on a daily basis. When a driver is not used to looking for a particular object, such as a motorcycle, they may be less likely to see and recognize one when they do encounter it. Visual recognition can be a problem for drivers and motorcyclists alike.

Motorcycle size

Part of the appeal of motorcycles is their small design. Unlike a sedan, a motorcycle is compact and easy to move park. A motorcyclist can take their vehicle more places than the driver of a large vehicle can.

However, the small size of a motorcycle also makes it more difficult to see out on the roads. Motorcycles can disappear behind other vehicles or into shadows. They may be obscured by road construction or other obstacles. Motorcycles may not stand out and therefore become hard to spot by other drivers.

Drivers have a duty to act reasonably and part of that duty involves keeping their eyes on the road. A driver who hits a motorcycle may be liable for their victim’s losses. A personal injury attorney can help a harmed motorcyclist with their possible legal claims.


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