Motorcycle Accidents with Autonomous Vehicles

Motorcycle Accidents with Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous cars – or cars with autopiloting functions – started making lots of headlines when they were allowed to be used on public streets, particularly in urban settings versus wide-open suburban neighborhoods. However, while engineers focused heavily on making sure the cars’ sensors could see other vehicles, read traffic lights, and recognize pedestrians, what was not being talked about heavily was how these “robotic” vehicles were interacting with motorcycles on the same street. Motorcycle accident injury attorneys, however, have been paying attention.

Not Seeing Everything

At a functional level, an autonomous vehicle needs to be able to see and react at least as well as a human to other objects on the road, if not better. While the regulations even allowing an autonomous vehicle have to date been soft, mainly since the current laws didn’t anticipate the creation of driverless cars at the time they were written, the resulting accidents that have occurred since have been triggering investigations. Among them have been fatal incidents which, no surprise, involved a motorcycle.

In one 51-day window of time, multiple autonomous vehicle accidents occurred. In these instances, the driver was in the car and had the ability to control it. However, the vehicle was switched into auto-pilot mode, which meant the vehicle was making all the movement decisions. The autopilot computer in each instance failed to recognize the safety value of a nearby motorcycle in motion.

While drivers are supposed to still be holding the driving wheel in autonomous cars, and the car’s computer is supposed to be able to sense when the driver is not paying attention or being distracted to alert them, the fact is the car computers are not recognizing motorcycles as vehicles at all. In two instances, an autonomous car hit a motorcycle from behind in Florida and Utah. In both cases, the vehicle involved was using autopilot mode.

In the Florida case, the driver was flipped off the bike and into the car, turning into a fatality. In the second case, the Utah rider was also hit from behind and killed.

Riders Get Missed by Tech

Where traditional vehicle accidents have involved a common problem of the driver not seeing a motorcycle rider, now the issue has evolved into the car computer not seeing the rider on the road. Again, where the autonomous car was at least supposed to be as attentive as humans or better given its always active technology, the reality isn’t performing as anticipated. As such, motorcyclists need to be prepared to take legal action, should something happen to them on the road.

Car Technology Can Continue to be Problematic for Motorcyclists

As cars are becoming more and more computerized, motorcyclists have to be even more careful of careless drivers that may not be guiding their vehicle. This technology shows no signs of slowing down, so it’s important that motorcyclists be aware of the risks, educate themselves on which cars contain autopilot features, and and take down the names of a few law firms that can help them.

Emma Chris

Emma Chris is the founder of Forbes Era. Emma helps businesses to make their online presence by helping them to connect with their potential customers.

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