Are motorcyclists cloaked in invisibility on the roads?

Phoenix motorcyclists know the phenomenon well. They’re riding along on a sunny day, obeying all traffic laws. Suddenly, a motorist changes lanes or rides up on their bumper and crashes into them.

It’s almost as if the motorcycle riders were invisible to the drivers. It sounds facetious, but there is more truth to it than most people realize.

Why drivers just don’t see you

According to Human Factors, which is the journal that the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society publishes on its peer-reviewed scientific studies, many motorists see neither bicyclists nor motorcyclists sharing the roads with them.

Their findings were astonishing, as they concluded the drivers’ brains fail to register two-wheelers on the road even though their eyes are looking at them.

Inattention plays role in “blindness”

The scientists even coined a name for this: “looked but fail[ed] to see” (LBFTS) phenomenon. This form of inattentional blindness has a significant role in many motorcycle collisions.

The lead author of the study who is also a psychology professor and an associate dean of science at a foreign university elaborated, saying that when people drive, the brain has to manage “a huge amount of sensory information.”

Given the limits of human cognition, some things get filtered out. That would be those hapless riders minding the rules of the road that nonetheless wind up dead or severely injured.

Drivers bear liability regardless

Even when their inattention is inadvertent and not linked to distractions from cellphones, etc., these at-fault drivers still must bear the liability for the injuries, deaths and damages for which they are responsible.

However, unless criminal charges arise from the accidents, it is up to the victims to take the necessary steps to hold them civilly liable in court. That can be difficult to do when you are laid up in a hospital bed or grieving the loss of a beloved family member.

Learn about the legal options you have

You first goal should be to focus on healing and/or recovering from the death of your loved one. But waiting too long to take action can close that door forever to you. Learn more about your rights under Arizona law so that you get the compensation to which you are entitled.

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