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Cars vs Motorcycles: The Blame Game

In 2016 alone, motorcycle fatalities accounted for over 13% of all traffic fatalities reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Even more had been severely injured. This has been an increasing trend for several decades, but in accidents involving cars vs motorcycles, it seems the motorcyclists blame the car drivers and the car drivers blame the motorcyclists. There are several reasons for this but the motorcyclists aren’t always at fault. Road conditions, driver distractions, and other factors need to be considered before determining who is at fault in a car vs motorcycle traffic accident.

Blaming the Weather

Car drivers tend to blame motorcyclists when an accident happens during times of inclement weather. While it’s true that a gust of wind can affect a motorcycle much more dramatically than a car or truck which can cause them to swerve, many car drivers don’t give the motorcyclists room to correct themselves in windy conditions. Rain can make for hazardous riding conditions for motorcyclists, putting them at risk for losing control of their bike, but these dark, gloomy conditions sometimes make it difficult for car drivers to see them.

Swerving for Road Hazards – Cars vs Motorcycles

When comparing cars vs motorcycles and the effect of road hazards, it’s important to realize that even the act of swerving can be dangerous to a motorcyclist. If a car next to them swerves into their lane to avoid a road hazard, they can either hit the motorcyclist or cause the motorcyclist to swerve and lose control. However, if a car were to hit road debris and send it flying into a motorcycle’s lane of travel, it could be deadly.

It’s important to be aware of all vehicles and motorcycles around you so you can make the safest decision when swerving or hitting debris. A car can be fixed after hitting a pothole while swerving into a motorcyclist may cause lifelong disability or death.

“Looked but Failed to See” (LBFTS) Accidents

Many of those driving cars, trucks, and other passenger vehicles such as vans are pre-programmed from the time they learn how to drive to be observant of other vehicles on the road. Sadly, this observation training rarely transfers to motorcyclists that also share the road. In fact, many drivers who turn or change lanes in front of a traveling motorcycles report that they didn’t even see them. This is called a “Looked but Failed to See,” or LBFTS accident.

Some have blamed this on the size of a motorcycle since they are so much smaller than passenger vehicles. However, psychologists believe it has more to do with mental programming than with the actual size of the motorcycle. Researchers with the Association for Psychological Science have found through an experiment that many drivers just don’t see motorcycles on the road. This experiment involved showing drivers several pictures from a driver’s perspective, taking the photo away, and then asking them what they saw in the picture.

Stereotyped Motorcyclists

Many drivers who are at fault for accidents involving cars vs motorcyclists tend to point the blame at the motorcyclists due to the reputation they have as risk takers. In fact, most motorcyclists ride safely and defensively due to the increased risk of injury or death should they be involved in an accident. In California, even those who ride mopeds or motor-driven cycles are required to have a motorcycle license which means that they’ve proven they know how to ride. Those riding mopeds and other motor-driven cycles are at the same risk as those riding motorcycles and are often not taking risks while on the road. Still, drivers often cite stereotypes to place the blame on the rider of the motorcycle.

If you’re a motorcyclist and were involved in a traffic accident with a passenger vehicle, these cars vs motorcycles accidents should be investigated and perhaps even reconstructed with computer technology to fully understand who is at fault. The Maison Law Firm serving Visalia, Merced, Bakersfield and Fresno is ready to do just that, and anything else necessary to represent you to the insurance companies involved and perhaps even in court. Martin Gasparian may be able to get you compensation for your injuries, lost wages, property damage and more. The first step is to set up a confidential consultation to discuss the situation in detail. Call (559) 203-3333 or email martin@maisonlaw.comto do just that.


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