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What causes drivers to fail to see bicyclists?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | Bicycle Accidents

On the road, bicyclists and motor vehicles must share the same environment. Unfortunately, drivers may not notice bicyclists and cause serious accidents. After all, bicyclists tend to be more vulnerable than those in a car.

When it comes to drivers claiming that they did not see a bicyclist, there are various factors that may lend themselves to this claim.

Visibility challenges

Bicyclists have various challenges to overcome when it comes to sharing the road with motor vehicles, including the high risk of a motor vehicle versus a bicycle accident. In 2021, 853 bicyclists died in accidents involving a motor vehicle. To prevent serious injuries and death, bicyclists need to remain visible and within the driver’s field of vision. Reflective clothing and headlights on the bicycle can help drivers identify bicyclists on the road.

Cognitive biases

Cognitive biases play a role in driver behavior and may cause the driver to pay less attention to bicyclists. Drivers tend to expect to encounter other vehicles, but not bicycles. On the road, much of what you see has to do with your expectations, particularly when driving through familiar areas. Drivers may overlook bicyclists and cause an accident.

Overwhelming intersections

Intersections can be complex and stressful, with multiple lanes, traffic signals and heavy traffic. In fact, bicycle and motor vehicle accidents have a higher tendency to occur at intersections. If bicyclists become lost in the complexity of the environment, drivers may completely overlook them.

To create a safer road for bicyclists, drivers should refrain from distractions, like mobile phones or adjusting the radio while driving to decrease the likelihood of a bicycle accident.