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Could a Little More Empathy Help Reduce Crashes Between Cars and Motorcycles?

As the saying goes, to understand someone else’s point of view, you need to walk a mile in their shoes. Or, in the case of regular drivers and motorcyclists, traveling a few miles on the other person’s tires can help you gain more perspective about the dangers each party can face out there on the road.

If you embrace empathy and try to understand what poses the biggest problem for other drivers have, it may make the roads safer for everyone.

Car drivers can struggle to see motorcyclists

Bikes are smaller than the other vehicles around them. Thus they can disappear in a stream of traffic. As a motorcyclist, you may like to dress in basic black — but that does make you less visible and more vulnerable. Running daytime lights can help you stay visible if you do not want to use brighter clothing. Think of your efforts to raise your visibility on the road as a signal that you understand the problems other motorists have spotting you.

How you ride can also help you stay visible. If you drive a car, you will know that cars have several blind spots. Keeping out of these increases the chance a driver sees you. Inattentional blindness is also something to understand. This means that people can miss something that is right in front of them if they are not expecting to see it. A driver who does not ride may not expect to see a motorcycle, so might not register you are there.

Motorcyclists struggle against distracted, aggressive drivers

Drivers need to realize that motorcyclists are more vulnerable to a crash. They need to pay attention and avoid distractions to reduce the chance they hit one. Signaling well in advance of a maneuver gives bikers time to react. Checking mirrors before maneuvering or opening a car door also helps keep those on two wheels safe.

Those in cars should give plenty of space when overtaking a bike. While motorcycles are narrow, they may need to move to avoid hazards in the road. Plus, in many areas, it’s illegal to “lane share” with a motorcyclist. Treat them as if they’re your equal on the road — because they are.

If injured by an errant driver, you have the right to expect compensation for your losses — no matter what side of the equation you’re on. An attorney can help you learn more about your options.