No matter what vehicle you use, you need to be defensive at all times. Nowhere is that more pertinent than when you are on a bicycle. Studies have found that over half of all drivers on the road do not pay attention to whether a bicyclist is nearby.
An accident on a bicycle has the potential to cause greater injuries than if the person had been inside a car. Therefore, it is the responsibility of motorists to pay attention to the road at all times. Additionally, bicyclists need to be aware motorists may not always see them and act accordingly.
What did the study look for?
Researchers at the University of Toronto Engineering studied the eyes of motorists when they came to an intersection. They discovered over half of these drivers failed to scan the entirety of the intersection to check for bicyclists before making a turn. Therefore, if a bicyclist had wanted to cross the intersection at that time, then it is possible the motorist would have moved forward, possibly hitting the bicyclist.
It is natural for there to be many visual and mental distractions at a busy intersection, but motorists need to be more cautious. Bicyclist fatalities occur frequently throughout Seattle. All of the drivers in the study had been behind the wheel for at least three years, so they all had the experience necessary to be safer and still failed.
Some drivers simply cannot "see" cyclists
Another study found that some motorists were unaware of a bicyclist even when presented a picture of one in full view. Researchers presented drivers with a series of photos where some had alterations to include a taxi or motorcyclist. They found that 65 percent of participants did not see the motorcyclist in the picture. However, more participants were more aware of the taxi. It is clear some motorists simply have a blind spot when it comes to people on bikes.