(813) 223-6773
(866) 921-7560 (813) 223-6773 EN ESPANOL

Staying Visible, Staying Safe: Motorcyclists and BlindSspots

Fiol Law Group|Posted in Car Accidents on April 27, 2017

According to Current Results weather statistics reports, Tampa, Florida, averages 244 days each year that are sunny or partly sunny. Having good weather two-thirds of the time makes it an excellent city for people who love to get out on motorcycles at every opportunity.

Everyone on the road has the responsibility to follow traffic laws and be alert to vehicles around them, but for riders, this often is not enough to prevent a motorcycle collision with a car or truck. Even when a rider is in plain sight, a motorist who is watching for a motorcycle may still have a hard time seeing it and judging how fast it is moving.

Identifying Blind Spots

When a motorcycle is in a blind spot, the rider is literally invisible. The easiest way for a rider to determine whether his or her motorcycle is in a blind spot is to look for a motorist’s face in the vehicle’s mirror, according to Ride Apart magazine. When a motorcyclist cannot see the driver, the experience is mutual. However, a rider should never assume that the driver does see the motorcycle. Distracted or negligent drivers often do not do the necessary head and mirror checks before making a move in traffic.

According to Consumer Reports, there is another significant blind spot directly behind any vehicle. This varies depending on the type of vehicle and its design, and also on the height of the driver. For example, in a small sedan, the driver of average height, around five feet eight inches, has a blind zone distance extending 12 feet behind the vehicle. However, a driver who is five feet one inch has a blind zone of 24 feet. The numbers increase with the size of the vehicle. When driving in stop-and-go traffic, an SUV or pickup driver may never know there is a motorcycle directly behind the vehicle.

Maintaining Visibility

Cycle World magazine notes that the only time a motorcycle should be beside another vehicle is during a passing maneuver, unless traffic makes it impossible to avoid the situation. To prepare for the move, the rider should hang behind the vehicle, positioned on the left side of the lane, so that it is easier to see the motorist in his or her mirror. After three or four seconds, the rider should make the pass as quickly as possible and return to the outside lane.

Although many new vehicles now come standard with lane departure warning systems and blind spot monitoring systems, motorcyclists should never count on this technology to alert drivers to their presence. For one thing, the American Automobile Association’s recent study of these programs indicates that motorcycles are detected 26 percent later than a typical sedan. Not only that, steep learning curves and oversensitive alerts lead many people to turn the systems off.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Defensive driving techniques may not be enough to protect a motorcyclist from a negligent or reckless driver. Motorcycle accidents often leave riders with devastating injuries, and may leave a rider permanently disabled. A motorcycle accident attorney may be able to help an injured rider to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

To protect you from COVID-19, new and existing clients can contact us using our new remote intake process. Learn more here.