Paying full attention to the road is no guarantee that a driver will not miss an important detail. In fact, many drivers look, but still fail to see motorcycles. In many cases, this is because brains perceive smaller objects as farther away, and it is harder to judge the speed of motorcycles for the same reason.
However, there may be another reason that so many drivers pull directly into the path of motorcycles. Science Daily explains that it could be inattentional blindness.
The science behind inattentional blindness
If the human brain had to process and catalog every piece of sensory input, the overload of information would take hours, and no one would ever do anything else. To abbreviate intake and processing, the brain filters out the information that it determines is irrelevant to the situation.
Usually, when drivers are paying full attention, their eyes are transmitting information to the brain regarding other vehicles, but they are likely to filter out motorcycles because the intent to see them is missing.
The “cure” for inattentional blindness
According to Road and Track, motorcyclists should always be aware of the fact that drivers may not see them. However, defensive riding techniques are not the cure. To improve motorcycle safety, it is up to drivers to overcome inattentional blindness.
An awareness training for new drivers could improve their ability to register the presence of a motorcycle, as well as teaching them to accurately judge a motorcycle’s distance and speed by looking twice. But for all drivers on the road, the secret to seeing motorcycles is to overcome the inattention with intention.