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Auto Blind Spot Monitors Provide Little Protection for Motorcyclists

Feb 12, 2016 - Motorcycle Accidents, Tuscaloosa by

When buying a new vehicle, few consumers pay close attention to blind spots during the test drive. Of course, all cars have blind spots that often prevent drivers from being aware of other cars driving right next to them — or even unseen bicycles and pedestrians. Mirrors help reduce the problem to some extent, but in the interest of increased safety, some vehicle manufacturers now offer blind spot monitors.

Our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys applaud the introduction of a device that provides electronic detection assistance to help reduce the blind spot issue. Still, drivers with these devices still need to use their eyes. Just as important, motorcyclists should feel no safer on the road.

Many Blind Spot Detectors Sense Larger Vehicles Better than Smaller Ones

Even if riders knew for certain that every vehicle sharing the road was equipped with a blind spot detection device, they still need to avoid riding in blind spots. RideApart, a portal that serves the power sports industry, cites AAA findings that show that the abilities of one device over another can vary widely. In addition to potentially having detection ranges that are too short to provide ample warning for any driver, the devices do not always detect motorcycles because:

  • The devices that may effectively detect larger vehicles are 26 percent slower at identifying nearby motorcycles.
  • They detect slower-moving vehicles better than they pick up faster-moving vehicles, often notifying drivers too late to help avoid motorcycles.
  • They provide auto drivers with a false sense of security, reducing their safe-driving habits when they rely solely on their devices rather than on their own eyes.

Many motorcyclists understand that drivers who operate anything from cars to massive semis commonly hit them simply because they cannot see the smaller vehicles. Considering the limitations of many blind spot detectors, these devices may do little to reduce the number of biker injuries and fatalities caused by lack of visibility. Every biker should be aware of the risks — and continue to ride as if blind spot detectors do not exist.

Reasons for Lack of Visibility Generally Determine Accident Liability

Of course, all vehicles of all sizes share the roads, and they must obey the same rules of the road, even though bikers must follow a few additional laws. When cars or trucks hit bikes because they fail to see or notice them, there is a good likelihood that they will be seen as liable for biker injuries.

Still, this is not always the case. Motor vehicle drivers who do not carefully check traffic before changing lanes may be liable for the injuries they cause regardless of whether or not their blind spot detectors fail to provide sufficient warning. On the other hand, if a driver does not see a biker who is lane-splitting, which is illegal in Alabama, the biker may be found to be at fault.

Even bikers who can prove they were not at fault can find little comfort when they become hospitalized for critical injuries. It may not seem fair, but motorcyclists should make it a practice to exceed the rules of the road, even if it means yielding the right of way to drivers who should yield to them. Additionally, in the event of an accident, bikers are advised to talk to a knowledgeable attorney who can help protect their rights in a world where motorcycles face negative perceptions.

Additional Resources

Motorcycle Operator Manual, Alabama Department of Public Safety

Other Blog topics:

Alabama Motorcycle Accidents, Tuscaloosa motorcycle accident blog

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