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Drivers Often Misjudge Position Of Motorcycles

The McClellan Law Firm

“I never saw them coming.”

When it comes to motorcycle accidents, this is all too common a refrain for motorists. Motorcycle accidents often involve cars whose drivers never realized the motorcycle was there until the accident occurred. New studies point to the psychology behind why many motorists just don’t see bikers until it is too late.

Psychologists Have Answers on Motorcycle Accidents

The frequency of motorcycle vs. passenger vehicle accidents may be the result of a gap in the human brain's ability to make judgments. A recent study conducted by a psychologist at Texas Tech University demonstrates that the human brain may make errors in judging the distance of an object based on assumptions about the size of that object. Put another way: Because drivers are used to the size of the cars and trucks that make up the majority of the vehicles on the road, when a smaller object such as a motorcycle approaches, the drivers mistake how close it is.

Methodology Behind the Study

In the study, researchers asked participants to identify which object was going to reach the viewer first: A large object that was far away or a smaller object that was closer. Despite the relative nearness of the smaller object, the majority of study participants chose the larger object. Both objects could be seen growing larger as they approached, giving viewers all the information they needed to correctly identify the smaller object as the one that would arrive first. This misjudgment is one that drivers make regularly in real life situations, and can potentially lead to deadly accidents, particularly where smaller vehicles such as motorcycles are involved.

Improving Perception Can Protect Motorcyclists

This error made by the brain can likely be overcome. Drivers need to be aware that when they do see smaller objects on the road, such as motorcycles or bicycles, those objects are likely closer than the driver believes. Although drivers may feel otherwise, the truth is that motorcycles do not simply “come out of nowhere” before an accident occurs. They are simply closer than drivers' brains tell them they are. Awareness of this fact could help prevent accidents before they occur. It is simply a matter of education and improved perception.

Call The McClellan Law Firm for a Free Case Review

Were you hurt in a motorcycle accident somewhere in Southern California? The best thing you can do is call a San Diego motorcycle accident attorney with skill, knowledge, and experience. Our firm can fight for you. The McClellan Law Firm is known for being tough, knowledgeable, and aggressive. We understand motorcycle accident cases and have helped many injured bikers and their families recover deserved compensation through successful pursuit of an accident-related claim.