Limited Visibility Motorcycle Accidents

You can hit what you can’t see.

It’s a lifesaving message. A dichotomy, perhaps, but then so too is why so many motorists who injure or kill motorcycle riders claim to have never seen the motorcycle until the moment of impact.

The warnings are everywhere and begin to bombard the public each May: Motorcycle Safety Month in its rightful place at the beginning of the summer riding season.

“Look for Motorcycles – Now Look Again.”
Texas Department of Transportation

“Look Twice – Save a Life
RideSmart Florida

“Look. Learn. Live.”
Motorcycle Safety Coalition

Florida and Texas are focusing on motorcycle safety with good reason: They have been the most dangerous states in the nation to ride during a decade in which the number of serious and fatal motorcycle accidents nationwide has increased more than 40 percent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported an average of 500-700 motorcycle deaths each year in Florida between 2000 and 2020.

Visibility Causation in SWFL Motorcycle Collisions

As far back as the Hurt Report in 1981, researchers noted visibility as a critical causation factor. It’s a particularly startling factor when considering weather (often a cause of visibility collisions among the motoring public) was not associated with 98 percent of all motorcycle accidents.

And yet: “The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.”

-Hurt Report, H.H. Hurt, Jr., Traffic Safety
Center, University of Southern California.

Glare or views obstructed by other vehicles were blamed in half of such collisions. Brightly colored clothing and motorcycle windshields were also found to have improved visibility.

Florida law requires all riders to use a daytime headlamp. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Motorcycle Safety Handbook also offers practical advice for riders:

  • Choose a lane for maximum visibility as you approach an intersection.
  • Don’t follow too closely. Not only does it decrease reaction time, it increases the risk a rider will not be seen by a vehicle turning left in front of him.
  • Keep signals, brake lights, horn, and mirrors in proper working order.

While new riders are required to pass a basic Rider Safety Course, even veteran riders can benefit from a refresher or advanced course in defensive riding. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers advanced courses on rider safety.

However MSF and our motorcycle accident lawyers in Cape Coral and Fort Myers know motorists are often at fault. Drivers fail to check for riders in blind spots and do not yield the right of way at turns.

At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, we have been fighting for the rights of injured riders and their families since 1971. If you are dealing with a motorcycle accident, we encourage you to seek experienced legal help as soon as possible. Contact any of our Southwest Florida offices for a free a and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Offices in Naples, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Port Charlotte.

Motorcycle Injury Attorneys – 800-646-1210 – Free Consultation

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