The motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Steers & Associates believe that every motorist is entitled to their share of the road, safely and enjoyably. Although riding a motorcycle comes with a heightened risk, it should not preclude our clients from participating in a riding pleasure they love.

If you or a loved one was involved in a left-turn motorcycle crash or any other type of motorcycle accident, contact us today for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation.

Left Turn Motorcycle Crashes

One of the most common types of crashes involving motorcycles through changing lanes or left-turn collisions. It happens when a car driver takes a left turn in front of a motorcycle that had the right-of-way. Most of these involve three circumstances.

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First, and most common, is at an intersection, and the motorcycle is proceeding though under a green light (or no light but having the right-of-way) and a car driver doesn’t see the bike and pulls a left in its path.

The second scenario is on a highway were a driver is making a left turn onto a side street or into a parking lot or driveway and doesn’t see an oncoming motorcycle and turns into its path.

The third is less common but just as deadly. It happens when a driver is turning left off of a multi-lane highway. Instead of turning from the far-left lane, the driver turns from one of the right-hand lanes across the left lane and doesn’t see that a motorcycle is in their blind spot in the far left lane. The same type of crash happens when a driver turns left on a highway, and a motorcycle was passing them on the left after crossing the center line.

Causes of Left-Turn Crashes

The primary cause of this is the low profile of a motorcycle. It is smaller in width and height, and drivers are conditioned to look out for cars and other larger vehicles and don’t immediately see the motorcycle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did a study on motorcycle crashes and found that half of all motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle, and of those, 40 percent are from left-turn crashes. They also determined some of the causes of left-turn accidents:

  • Low profile of motorcycle
  • Drivers not conditioned to look for motorcycles
  • Drivers not able to gauge the speed of a motorcycle as well as other vehicles
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving

What Can Be Done?

Both motorists and motorcycle riders can do things to lessen the risk of left-turn accidents. The NTHSA listed some tips for motorists to avoid turning left into oncoming motorcycle:

  • Train yourself to be vigilant in looking for the smaller, harder to see motorcycles.
  • Don’t think you are as far away as it appears. Bikes are smaller and have smaller lights and look further way than they are.
  • Signal your intention to turn, many motorcycle riders are trained to ride defensively so let them know what you are doing.
  • Remember motorcycles can’t swerve the same as a car, especially in poor road conditions.

Motorcycle riders can also drive defensively and reduce the chances of someone turning left in front of them. These tips are:

  • When approaching an intersection, look for cars turning left and be ready when they begin their turn. You can honk or hit your blights to get their attention.
  • Don’t accelerate through intersection. Best thing to do is to slow down and be ready to avoid a left-turning car, and speed will make this more difficult.
  • Watch blind spots when traveling on multi-lane highways.
  • Don’t assume a driver sees you and won’t turn left.
  • Don’t pass (even if legal) on the left with parking lots or side roads to your rights. This ensures that a motorist isn’t going to turn left into you as you are passing them.

The number one piece of advice for all vehicle drivers and riders, is to be vigilant. Always be looking for potential collision circumstances. Don’t text or use hand-held phones when driving.

What if I’m in a left turn motorcycle accident?

After concentrating on getting medical treatment, you might want to start thinking about your upcoming financial losses. Talk to an attorney who knows the law and is experienced in helping motorcyclists get compensation for their injuries.


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