The Intersection Of Distracted Driving And Motorcycle Accidents

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. The two issues are connected in more ways than their position on the calendar. Distracted driving is a danger to drivers, passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists, alike. Accidents caused by inattentive drivers may be one-car accidents or multi-car pileups. The victims of these accidents do not fit a single profile. Everyone is vulnerable to distracted driving, but some are in more danger than others.

Among the most common elements of car-motorcycle collisions are claims that the driver of the car didn’t see the motorcycle until it was too late. While there are steps that motorcyclists can take to improve their chances of being seen, those steps cannot overcome a distracted driver. A driver focused on a cell phone will not be aware enough of the surroundings to avoid endangering motorcyclists.

The reason many motorcyclists choose to ride in groups is that it increases the odds that other motorists will take notice and drive safely. But solitary motorcyclists have as much right to the road as any other vehicle. If people in cars and trucks were more attentive, the risk of a solo ride would be greatly reduced. California roads are no place for drivers who are not paying attention. Motorcyclists are all too likely to be the ones who pay for the lack of focus displayed by other motorists.

The human brain is not well-equipped to judge the relative speeds of object of different size. The brain underestimates the speed of small objects and overestimates the speed of large objects. When a semi and a motorcycle appear in the rear-view mirror, it is very difficult, if not impossible to accurately gauge their speeds. The key to avoiding motorcycle accidents is to pay careful attention and give appropriate leeway to motorcycles in your area. That is not to say that motorcyclists deserve better treatment than others on the road. It simply means that care is required to prevent deadly accidents.

Source: MPR News, “Motorcyclists press for tougher distracted driving laws,” by Trisha Volpe, 20 March 2015