Why can’t drivers see motorcycles in Illinois?

There are several factors which may make it hard for drivers in Illinois to see motorcycles and therefore prevent accidents.

As people drive around Illinois, enjoying the summer sun, it is not uncommon for them to encounter motorcycles on the road around them. Motorcycles have become more and more popular with people of all ages and despite their increasing presence, motorist still often fail to see them.

One study showed that in accidents involving motorcycles and cars, drivers were at fault 60 percent of the time. According to the Sun Sentinel, the study looked at motorcycle crashes in a 10-year period. In many of the crashes, drivers were guilty of cutting off a motorcycle while trying to make a left turn. Some drivers claim they simply didn't see the motorcycle.

Is commonality a factor?

Newer research has been conducted on whether drivers see motorcycles or not. HealthDay reported that a group of 40 drivers were asked to look out for buses and motorcycles in a driving simulation test. Some simulators were programmed to show more motorcycles than others. In the programs where motorcycles made more appearances, drivers were able to spot them. In programs where motorcycles appeared less, drivers did not pay as much attention to them.

Researchers came to the conclusion that if drivers are not looking for the presence of motorcycles, they often don't see them. The data also indicated that the frequency of the appearance of motorcycles made a difference and suggests that drivers need to consciously put their mind on spotting these smaller vehicles.

Do drivers misperceive motorcycle motion?

A motorcycle differs from a passenger vehicle in a number of ways. It is often a fourth of the size of a car and it has a louder engine. When drivers see a motorcycle, they often misperceive the distance of the motorcycle and the rate of speed it is traveling at. For instance, motorists often believe that a motorcycle is further away than it really is. When motorists and witnesses hear a motorcycle's engine, they perceive it is going faster than it is.

While more research is needed, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, one study points out that this perception could be adjusted for night drivers by changing the headlight on a motorcycle. In one experiment, a light was installed on the helmet the rider rode and two additional lights were added to the motorcycle's headlight. This made it easier for drivers to see the motorcycle after dark and drivers often gave the motorcycle more space. Unfortunately, the change of headlight did not appear to make any difference during daytime driving.

When drivers in East Peoria fail to stay alert to the presence of motorcycles on the road, they can cause a collision that results in serious injury or death. Motorcycle accident victims may find it helpful to meet with an injury lawyer.