Study finds cognition defect may cause motorcycle accidents

A recent study sheds light on why many drivers fail to notice motorcycles.

With the arrival of summer, many people opt to ride their motorcycles to take advantage of the good weather in Minnesota. Unfortunately, with motorcycle season comes an increase in motorcycle accidents. Although such accidents are caused by many reasons, one of the most common is when the drivers of motor vehicles fail to notice that the motorcycle is there. A recent study looked into why this occurs.

The study found that drivers might not notice motorcyclists because they do not see motorcycles as often as other vehicles. Over the course of the study, a group was asked to identify each motorcycle and bus that they encountered in a driving simulator. One group of participants experienced a simulation that had many motorcycles and few buses while another group had a simulation with the opposite numbers.

While each simulation was running, each group was tasked with pointing out each motorcycle or bus that they encountered. Almost immediately, it became obvious that each group's ability to quickly identify a type of vehicle was based upon how prevalent each vehicle was in the simulation. In other words, if the simulation had many motorcycles, the participants were slower in identifying buses, but could quickly identify motorcycles.

In the simulation with a large number of motorcycles, the group was able to identify them 51 meters earlier than the group with a large number of buses. In real life, this would give a driver of a car traveling 40 mph an extra three seconds to react to the presence of the motorcycle, potentially allowing an accident to be avoided.

The study's findings indicate that drivers in real-life situations can have significant problems identifying motorcycles, since they are not as common as other vehicles. This is especially true in Minnesota, where the long winters keep motorcycles off the road for the majority of the year. Unfortunately for motorcyclists, the conclusion of the study means that they have to be especially careful, because they are in constant danger of an accident, due to how the human brain processes information.

An attorney can help

When a car meets a motorcycle, the resulting collision can have disastrous consequences, due to the weight difference between the vehicles. As a result, such accidents are major causes of fatalities. In 2012 alone, motorcycle accidents comprised 13 percent of the fatal accidents in Minnesota, according to the Office of Traffic Safety.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is quite possible that driver negligence is to blame. Under the law, negligent drivers can be held financially responsible for economic and noneconomic expenses resulting from the accident such as medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you further on your right to file a claim for compensation.

Keywords: motorcycle accidents, car accidents