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Texas Tech Study Explains Why Motorists Misjudge Motorcycles

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There was recently an interesting article authored by a parent whose son was injured in a motorcycle accident. The accident occurred in Washington, D.C. when a cab pulled out in front of the son’s motorcycle, failing to yield the right-of-way. The son slid underneath of the cab, which stopped to avoid running him over.

According to the parent, his son received minor injuries and road rash. Why would a cab driver pull out in front of his son? What was the driver thinking? Nothing seemed to matter other than this guy could have killed his son. The cab driver’s answers would do little to temper this parent’s anger.

Unfortunately, the facts and circumstances of this motorcycle accident are all too common. Generally, it is almost always another vehicle failing to yield the right-of-way to a motorcycle versus the other way around. Often motorcycles are challenged when motorists change lanes in front of them or into the side of them. Many motorcyclists suffer serious injuries as a result. Motorcycle accidents invariably result in serious life threatening injuries or death. Riders are simply too exposed and unprotected to sustain an impact with a car or truck without being badly injured or killed.

So, why do other motorists have such a difficult time seeing a motorcycle? The answer might be contained in a Texas Tech University perception study. Perception experts have discovered that drivers misjudge the speed and distance of a motorcycle because of its smaller size.

When a driver sees another vehicle coming, the mind attempts to calculate how far away it is and how fast it is going to avoid a collision. During the process, the mind uses certain depth perception clues to make this determination. Simply put, the mind decides that the bigger the object is, the closer it is. With a motorcycle, this is not always true due to its size.

The conclusion of the study conducted in Lubbock, Texas is that motorists, in general, are causing accidents by pulling out in front of smaller vehicles and motorcycles. The reason is that they perceive these smaller objects are farther away than they actually are.


If you, or a family member, have suffered serious and disabling injuries or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you need to seek the advice of a Texas attorney experienced in handling motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved and their insurance company, if applicable, may do their best to say that you caused or heavily contributed to the accident.

The attorneys at Carabin & Shaw, P.C. are experienced in handling a wide variety of serious personal injury and wrongful death claims, including motorcycle accidents. We are available to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Contact us through our website or call our toll free number at (800) 862-1260 to discuss your case. If you are unable to come to us, we will come to you.

You will only owe us a fee if we make a recovery for you.

Other Resources:

Crash! Collisions in the Mind’s Eye
, The Huffington Post, Article by Wray Herbert, November 28, 2012
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Study Claims Increased Organ Donations in Texas and Five Other States Following Repeal of Motorcycle Helmet Laws , Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, June 12, 2012

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, Texas injury lawyers Blog, December 3, 2012