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Does inattentional blindness impact motorcycle safety?


California motorcyclists like you know that the road is a dangerous place. You face a higher rate of serious crashes than anyone on the road. You also face a higher rate of fatalities. The actions of other drivers play a large role in your safety.

For example, distraction impacts driver safety in a direct way. One form of distraction you may not know of is inattentional blindness. Today, we will discuss what this is and why it affects motorcycle safety.

Being “blind” to your surroundings

The American Psychological Association discusses inattentional blindness in relation to driving. Inattentional blindness happens when someone is too focused on one thing. Because of this focus, they are “blind” to everything else around them.

APA uses new drivers as an example. A new driver has a lot to focus on. Their attention may anchor on their speedometer. They may focus on their rear-view mirror or blind spots. They may even fixate on oncoming traffic. What happens when they pay so much attention to these issues? They miss obvious dangers, like a red light or an animal in the road.

Inattentional blindness as a driver distraction

Because of this, inattentional blindness is a driver distraction. Focusing too intently on one thing creates an enormous distraction. This is true even if “driving” is the distraction in question.

So how does this impact motorcyclists? As you know, drivers already struggle to see you on the road. They overlook motorcyclists because of your size and speed. This happens even if a driver is paying full attention to the road. When distractions join the mix, it is even easier for a driver to miss you.