Why are drivers often at fault for major bicycle crashes?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Bicycles of all shapes and sizes are a common sight on the roads in Hawaii. Tourists may rent them as a convenient form of local transportation instead of renting a motor vehicle, and some residents ride them everywhere. Bicycles are efficient and affordable, but they can also be dangerous. They leave cyclists incredibly exposed, especially when compared with a motor vehicle. There are no restraints and no physical shell to absorb the force of impact during a collision. One wrong move can lead to someone falling off their bike and getting seriously hurt.

Most cyclists take safety seriously because they understand that if a crash occurs, they will have very little to protect them from sustaining severe injuries. Unfortunately, they will cross paths with countless drivers when traveling, many of whom will not make safety their top priority.

Drivers simply don’t notice bicycles

When drivers cause bicycle collisions, they will often state that they didn’t see the cyclist. That claim is counter-intuitive, as many people go to great lengths to be as visible as possible while on a bicycle. People wear reflective gear, bright colors and even flashing lights. They are incredibly visible if drivers actively look for them.

What actually happens is that the brain of the driver filters out information that doesn’t seem safety-critical. Intentional blindness or the inability to notice non-threatening objects is a side effect of driving. Motorists travel at high speeds, taking in more visual information than the brain can manage at once. A driver can look right at a cyclist while traveling at a high speed and may even seemingly make eye contact with them while never actually recognizing cognitively that they are there. They could then make the wrong choice about their next maneuver in traffic and harm the cyclist as a result.

When a driver hits a cyclist, regardless of the reason why, the injured party very likely has the right to file an insurance claim and potentially a personal injury lawsuit because of the driver’s likely negligence. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to exercise one’s rights after sustaining harm due to a driver’s inattentional blindness or other form of negligent conduct.