Why Don’t Cars “See” Motorcycles?

Why Don't Cars See Motorcycles

It’s said that more than 2/3 of fatal car crashes involve motorcycles. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable during crashes because they are relatively unprotected. Even motorcyclists who wear helmets and appropriate clothing may become injured when involved in a crash with an automobile. Motorcyclists and automobile drivers who understand why these accidents occur may be able to avoid them altogether.

Why Automobile Drivers Fail to See Motorcyclists

Motorcycles are inherently different than automobiles in a variety of ways. They accelerate more quickly than cars, are more agile than cars, and can maneuver between lanes more easily. Motorcycles must also avoid obstacles that cars can simply drive over, and as a result, motorcyclists change lanes much more frequently than automobiles. In essence, motorcyclists actually drive their motorcycles differently than automobile drivers.

Automobile drivers spend most of their time looking for other cars on the road, and motorcycles are easy to miss. They have a low profile, can come up quickly, and change course suddenly. This is a major cause of motorcycle accidents.

Situations Where the Most Accidents Occur

Motorcyclists will find that some situations are riskier than others.

  • Windy conditions: Unexpected wind gusts–either from poor weather conditions or from nearby trucks–can cause motorcycles to shift lanes suddenly and involuntarily, leading to accidents.
  • Cars turning left: One of the greatest causes of accidents between motorcyclists and automobile drivers occurs when automobiles attempt to turn left in front of a motorcycle.
  • Blind spot driving: Motorcycles can easily fit into automobile blind spots, and when those automobiles attempt to change lanes, accidents occur.
  • Bad driving conditions: Accidents can also occur when motorcycles are driven in bad weather conditions (like rain or sleet) and over rocky pavement.
  • Lane splitting: When motorcyclists drive between lanes, this is called “lane splitting.” Lane splitting can lead to many accidents.

Motorcyclists who are able to avoid these high risk situations may be able to avoid accidents while driving.

How Can You Avoid Accidents?

Whether you’re a motorcyclist or an automobile driver, you can avoid accidents by making intelligent driving decisions.

Motorcyclists should avoid speeding and accelerating quickly, and should always use their headlights for increased visibility. Automobile drivers should listen and look for motorcyclists at all times, and must look carefully to the side and to the rear of the car before changing lanes. All drivers must use turn signals to communicate with other drivers on the road, to avoid confusion that leads to accidents.

Of course, despite the best efforts from motorcyclists and automobile drivers, accidents can still happen from time to time. If you are a resident of the Pittsburgh area, have recently been involved in an accident and are in need of a personal injury attorney, contact Beier Law. With 40 years experience, Beier Law is ready and able to defend your rights.

About Bart Beier

Bart Beier returned to Pittsburgh to open a private law practice after completing his education at Harvard University. He then co-founded the firm of Beier, Beier & Beier with his wife Mary. Bart has extensive litigation experience in a wide range of personal injury cases including slip and falls, auto accidents, and defective products. He provides clients with special insight into insurance practices, having worked for two major insurers before practicing law. Bart also has developed considerable real estate expertise with 35 years of experience. He has personally done over 2,000 real estate closings and has been a real estate title agent for over 20 years. Bart works with both residential and commercial real estate clients throughout Pennsylvania.