Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) April 4, 2013 – Motorcycle accidents may be more about brain calculations than not seeing bikers.
“I ran across an interesting article about motorcycles and accidents, which I thought might be the standard piece relating to drivers insisting they do not see bikers. I was surprised when I realized it had a piece of information in it about how a brain calculates distance that made me sit up and take notice,” explained Austin personal injury attorney Bobby Lee, of Lee, Gober and Reyna in Austin, Texas.
It is no secret that motorcycle accidents are common; too common to be acceptable. And, in most instances, it is not the biker that causes the accident; it is the driver of another vehicle violating the biker’s road space. By that time, it is too late for the motorcycle rider to do anything but hang on, pray and try to lay the bike down the best way they know how. It does not always work, and many bikers have lost their lives in a collision with another vehicle. Those that lived bear a not so silent testimony to the dangers of riding a hog.
“The article deals with psychological scientists examining the patterns of collisions between cars and bikers. It appears there may be a perception problem causing wrecks —- meaning the car drivers are, as a matter of course, misjudging a biker’s distance and speed. As it turns out, this could be related to the size of the bike,” explained Lee.
At the root of this particular branch of science, is how humans judge size and motion, to allow them to figure out how to anticipate a crash, or whether things look good to go. The results of these studies are suggesting quite strongly that drivers are not objective, or rational, when making judgments about motorcycles.
Here is what happens when a driver sees an oncoming vehicle. The driver uses two points of reference to determine how to avoid a crash. The first point is a reliable one-to-one representation of the visual field on the retina’s visual field. This calculation is related to the size of an object.
The second point is a depth clue provided by the mind —- for instance, the bigger an object is, the closer it is. That is not always true, nor reliable. These two factors combine into a premise referred to as the size-arrival effect, and many people, instead of relying on the more reliable visual clues, use the less reliable guesstimates offered by the brain.
In a nutshell, the brain typically thinks the larger objects will arrive faster, despite a smaller vehicle (such as a motorcycle) moving at a rapid rate of speed. To translate that over to how it applies on the road, one simply perceives that drivers are running a high risk of a wreck by turning late in front of smaller, oncoming vehicles, such as motorcycles, which look like they are further away than they are in reality.
“In short, drivers are guessing they have more time than they actually have and because they have misjudged, the result is a serious injury accident or a fatality,” Lee added.
Lee, Gober and Reyna
11940 Jollyville Road, Suite 220-S
Austin, Texas 78759