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Your brain may ignore motorcycles, even when you see them

After a lot of motorcycle accidents, drivers say they simply didn't see the bikes. People chalk this up to the small size of a motorcycle, or it's speed, or a blind spot, or driver inattention.

All of these things play a role, but did you know that your brain may automatically "discard" a motorcycle, even if you see it, so that it doesn't register?

There are a lot of reasons for this and the science behind the way your eyes works is complicated, but suffice to say that your brain has to process everything you see. For instance, you actually see everything upside down and with a notable blind spot in the middle, and your brain flips it and fills in the gaps.

Since doing all of this takes a lot of power and wears you out, your brain often tries to anticipate what you'll see and uses "shortcuts" with familiar objects. You know they are there, so you don't have to "see" them all of the time.

This is problematic when it comes to motorcycles because they are small and fast, so they're already hard to see.

For instance, before pulling into the road, you may look left and see an open road, then look right. You check left again before driving, and a motorcycle has come around the corner. But your brain -- which is busy ignoring your blind spot and many other things -- doesn't expect the motorcycle to be where it wasn't just a second ago, and it ignores the bike.

Have you been hit by a driver who was in that same position, who claims he or she never saw you? It's quite common, but you may still be entitled to financial compensation.

Source: Road & Track, "Why You Don't 'See' Motorcycles on the Road," Jack Baruth, accessed March 10, 2017

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