Left-Turn Accidents: A Common & Deadly Scenario For Motorcyclists

Anyone who rides a motorcycle necessarily assumes an increased level of risk (compared to driving in a car or truck). Motorcycles offer almost no external protection to riders in the event of a crash. And their relatively small size means that in any collision between a motorcycle and a four-wheeled vehicle, the motorcycle will always lose.

That being said, most motorcycle accidents are avoidable, and they should not simply be dismissed as "the price you pay" for riding instead of driving. In today's post, we'll discuss one of the most common and preventable crash scenarios in Kentucky and around the nation: left-turn accidents.

Picture an automobile traveling down a busy road or two-lane highway. The car slows and pulls toward the center line in preparation for a left turn in cross traffic. The car begins the left turn and is suddenly broadsided by a motorcyclist. The rider had no time to slow down or get out of the way of the left-turning car, and resulting crash is likely to be fatal.

This scenario happens far more often than most people realize. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, left-turn accidents accounted for 44 percent of two-vehicle fatal motorcycle accidents in 2013.

Who is at fault in such accidents? Sometimes, the motorcyclist contributes to left-turn accidents by speeding or trying to pass unsafely. But in most cases, the left-turning drivers are to blame. Drivers of cars and trucks often forget to pay attention to motorcyclists. So when they scan opposing traffic before making a left turn, they may only be watching for oncoming cars and trucks. If they do notice a motorcyclist coming toward them, they are likely to misjudge how far away the rider is and how fast he is traveling.

Although riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous, motorcyclists have the same right to road safety as other drivers do. We all have a responsibility to pay attention to our surroundings on the road, including and especially the presence of motorcyclists.

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