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Limitations of Human Perception Can Increase Rider’s Accident Risk

August 16, 2016

Whether you are riding your motorcycle to work, school, or a weekend outing, every ride poses a potential disaster. Motorcyclists provide a difficult-to-see obstacle that drivers behind the wheel of passenger vehicles and commercial trucks can collide with before their brain registers the rider's presence. Because our Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, represent many riders hit by negligent drivers, we know that the relatively small size of a motorcycle is a key factor in many crashes.

Research has revealed that the brain has difficulty judging the distance of objects based on their small size, such as a motorcycle. This research indicates that people frequently struggle to estimate distance when faced with a disparity in motion and size of a passenger car or truck and a motorcycle. This difficulty results from the fact that the human brain uses size when evaluating the movement of objects. Since motorcycles are relatively small when compared to other motor vehicles, motorists are prone to underestimate their speed and distance as they approach.

The frequency of left turn accidents serves as an example of this limitation of the brain's perception ability. The driver might be preparing to execute a left-hand turn when he identifies a motorcycle approaching in the opposite direction in the oncoming lane. Because of this limitation in perception, the driver of the car might also assume that the motorcycle is moving slower or approaching from a greater distance. This miscalculation by drivers partially explains the tendency of drivers to execute unsafe left-hand turns across the path of approaching motorcyclists.

There are other perception difficulties created by the diminutive size of motorcycles. Since they are small, bikes can become obscured by the glare of headlights or the sun. Sometimes a motorcycle will be difficult to distinguish and may even blend into the shape of another vehicle. While the legal right-of-way is important, motorcyclists also need to have the "actual" right-of-way" as acknowledged by drivers preparing to make turns or to otherwise impede the path of a motorcycle. Although the concept of legal right-of-way can be very important in a personal injury lawsuit, it provides little comfort if you become seriously injured or tragically lose a loved one because another driver does not observe these rules of the road.

Recent research supports the link between perception limitations involving motorcycles and the prevalence of left turn motorcycle crashes. A study published by researchers at Texas Tech University entitled "Effect of Size on Collision Perception and Implications for Perceptual Theory and Transportation Safety" concludes that certain motorcycle crashes are caused by the way the brain perceives distance. The researchers concluded that motorists' difficulty in judging the distance and size of an object contribute to many motorcycle crashes. They also found that smaller objects usually are perceived as being farther away than larger objects. The author of the study suggests that "the size-arrival effect potentially can lead drivers to misjudge when a vehicle would arrive at an intersection ...."

Put Our Firm's Over 39 Years of Legal Experience to Work for You

While drivers are expected to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing motorcycle accidents, this research suggests the importance of extreme vigilance by motorcycle riders. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle collision, our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys are dedicated to pursuing the fullest recovery for our clients based on the circumstances of their cases.

The law firm of Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, has been representing those who suffer serious injuries in Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located, our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

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Atlanta, GA 30329
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Related Pages: Columbus GA motorcycle accident Lawyers, Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Georgia, Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Atlanta GA, Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Savannah.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.