People put signs in their yards and bumper stickers on their vehicles to remind other drivers to look for motorcycles. A surprising number of drivers seem to completely overlook motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists who have the right to share the road with them. They will say as much if they end up causing a crash.
Actively reminding drivers to check for motorcycles could potentially save a life because it counteracts the dangers of inattentional blindness at the wheel.
What is inattentional blindness?
Your brain has to sort through a massive amount of information to understand your surroundings. When you travel at high speeds, that means significantly more information for your brain to process in a small amount of time.
The human brain is very efficient at prioritizing stimuli received from your eyes and other sensory organs. It will focus on what it thinks will affect your safety, including bigger vehicles. Smaller vehicles seem less dangerous, so you may not even notice them despite looking right at them as you scan traffic.
Inattentional blindness is the psychological term for the inability of someone to recognize crucial factors in their environment because their brain must sort through so much information. It often leads to a false sense of security and can directly contribute to the chances of hitting a motorcycle or pedestrian.
As someone on a motorcycle, recognizing the limitations of other drivers can make it easier for you to follow defensive driving practices and keep yourself safe. Understanding the limits of how the human brain operates can help you avoid a motorcycle crash the next time you go out for a ride.