As the temperatures warm up and the trees start sprouting new leaves, you will want to get outside more frequently. Whether you enjoy jogging or have a motorcycle, getting some fresh air on the open road may seem like a great idea.
While you can absolutely appreciate the beauty of a Washington spring from the saddle of a bicycle or the back of a motorcycle, you also put yourself at risk. Pedestrians and those on two-wheeled vehicles can easily suffer severe injuries if they get into a crash with an enclosed motor vehicle like a car or SUV.
Those risks may be higher in the springtime because of how drivers think.
Fewer pedestrians, motorcycles or bikes mean drivers don’t look carefully
You can follow every safety rule and best practice and still wind up severely hurt because someone in a car hits you. Often, when drivers hit motorcyclists, cyclists or pedestrians, they claim that they didn’t see the other person. Science actually supports that claim.
A driver’s brain has to sort through thousands of bits of visual information while they travel at high speeds. The brain focuses on what it thinks is most important, usually meaning what it thinks of as a safety risk.
Motorcycles and pedestrians are much smaller than the typical enclosed vehicle, so drivers don’t register them as a threat if they see them in traffic. That means they don’t notice them unless they intentionally look for them. In the spring months, most joggers and cyclists will have been off the road for a while, the average driver won’t feel worried about sharing the road safely with pedestrians and bicycles. If they aren’t looking specifically for you, they may not see you.
How can you stay safe during a spring outing?
Realizing that other drivers may not notice you during a spring jog or ride can help better protect yourself. You can make an extra effort to increase visibility and draw the attention of anyone near you in traffic. You can also choose routes where there will be less traffic or only vehicles traveling at lower speeds.
Thinking about what puts you at risk of getting hurt on public roads can reduce your chances of suffering serious injuries.