A Motorcycle Rider is Always a Target on the Highway

Riding a motorcycle demands full-time awareness of the road

For a motorcycle rider, every trip carries the potential for disaster. Just running down to a store for ingredients for the evening meal, or stopping by a friend who lives nearby creates the risk. On your motorcycle, you are a target, albeit a small one, and drivers of cars and trucks may crash into you long before their brain recognizes your presence.

The scenarios are endless, but some are more frequent than others are. This crash happened right before Christmas in Livingston, but it could have been anywhere in the Los Angeles area or California. A pickup truck turned left into the motorcyclist, striking him head-on. He was thrown from the bike and pronounced dead shortly after the crash.

What did he do wrong? Bad timing? Wrong place, wrong time? The news story provided no more details and the California Highway Patrol was still investigating the crash, but more likely than not, the driver of the pickup simply did not see the motorcycle or its rider. Or maybe they saw it, but their brain discounted its presence because of its size.

Size does matter in distance calculations

Research has shown that the human brain does a poor job accurately estimating distance when dealing with the difference in size and motion of a motorcycle versus a car or truck. Because size is a factor in the brain’s calculation of the movement of objects, the smaller size of the motorcycle could lead to an underestimating of the distance and speed of approach.

A driver, getting ready to make a turn may see a motorcycle approaching in the oncoming lane, but their brain may treat it as a larger object and allow them to believe that it is further away.

Motorcycle riders face many challenges when riding

Other perception problems could be due to the motorcycle blending into the shapes of other vehicles or being hidden in the glare of their headlights. The rider of a cycle, watching other drivers is essential. You must always be alert for turn signals or drivers looking to make turns.

For a motorcycle rider, having the legal right-of-way is always important, but, even more, important is having the actual right-of-way. While the legal right of way may make it easier for your attorney to win compensation for you or your family, it may provide little comfort if it means you have lost an arm or leg, suffered a spinal injury, a traumatic brain injury or died in the accident.

Riding a motorcycle on the Pacific Coast Highway or up the passes in the Sierra Nevada can make for an incomparable riding experience. That may make the risk of being hit on the way to the store for a gallon of milk worthwhile, but a motorcycle accident is nothing you ever want to experience.

But if it has happened, you need experienced legal representation from an attorney who understands motorcycle crashes, motorcycle riders and motorcycle law.

If injured in a motorcycle crash, contact Scott J. Corwin

Our founding attorney, Scott J. Corwin, has more than 30 years of experience in representing accident victims injured in all forms of motorcycle accidents, in the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, San Diego, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and throughout the state of California.