What is a left turn motorcycle accident?
Motorcyclists can face unique dangers compared to other vehicle operators. According to the National Highway Traffic & Safety Association (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 28% more likely to die in an accident when compared to cars or trucks. The lack of seatbelts and steel covering is more important than most think, and even the most chopped-out Harley will have a bad day going up against a four-cylinder FIAT.
Perhaps the greatest danger when it comes to other vehicles on the road is when left turns are involved. For both a four-wheeled vehicle (and, often, the two-wheeled one), left turns are intrinsically more difficult and, thus, more dangerous. The resulting accident can be devastating, even when everyone is doing their best to drive properly.
When you find yourself in need of legal counsel due to such an accident, contact the offices of Darrigo & Diaz. Our Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers specialize in personal injury cases and won’t see a dime until you see your settlement. Call us today at (813) 774-3341 or contact us via our website to schedule a no-cost consultation. In the meantime, since forewarned is forearmed, it’s useful to educate yourself on left-turn accidents and their causes.
What Is a Left-Turn Accident and Why Is It So Deadly for Motorcyclists?
The biggest danger motorcyclists face is, frankly, other automobiles. Far too many drivers forget they share the road with other cars and trucks, and they give almost no thought to the two-wheelers buzzing past them. Further, vehicles turning left across oncoming traffic may not exercise the caution and observational skills expected of them, especially if they just plain aren’t paying attention.
A “left-turn accident” is simply when a vehicle causes an accident by making a left turn and not taking the proper precautions. According to the NHTSA, left-turn accidents account for nearly 36% of all fatal motorcycle accidents.
Even among four-wheeled vehicles, left-turn accidents account for nearly one-half of crossing-path crashes. Put simply, these accidents most often occur at intersections where the turning car has failed to wait for oncoming traffic to clear.
At any intersection, whether there are traffic lights or not, oncoming traffic has the right-of-way. So, except in rare cases, the turning vehicle is the one at fault. Exceptions to this include:
- Speeding — If a motorcycle is excessively speeding and an accident occurs, the fault is transferred to them.
- Running a red light — Similarly, disobeying traffic signs and signals transfers fault or can lead to shared fault in certain cases
- Unexpected circumstances — For example, if a bicycle or an animal darts out in front of the turning vehicle, causing it to stop suddenly, it may not be considered at fault. However, this doesn’t necessarily transfer fault to the motorcyclist.
Who’s At Fault, And How To Protect Yourself
“I didn’t even see them coming” is a common refrain from automobile drivers involved in accidents with motorcycles. Part of it is, because of their smaller size, cycles can easily slip into those turning “blind spots” found in every car. And most of us only see a few motorcycles on our daily drive compared to cars and trucks, and we tend to discount them. Also, because of their size, motorcycles tend to blend in more with their surroundings.
Even still, car drivers are expected to be aware of these blind spots and account for them. They’re also expected to pay attention, avoid distractions, and exercise sound judgment from behind the wheel. Given the fact that an average of eight people are killed every day in distracted driving accidents, many people don’t deliver on these expectations and can end up causing serious injury or fatalities.
At the same time, motorcyclists must exercise their own due diligence, especially when approaching intersections. While it is incredibly tempting to turn on the speed and go zipping around the highway, in and out of traffic, splitting lanes and crossing on the right, a motorcyclist really can’t afford to be too incautious in regular traffic knowing the car next to them might not see them at all.
Put simply, motorcyclists must be aware, be patient, and be cautious when confronted with a left-turn situation. The other cars on the road may not even be aware of you and to forget this is to invite disaster.
Even still, the vehicle turning left across traffic almost always has the greater responsibility. As experienced left turn accident attorneys, we’ve seen in past cases the difference a little extra care and hesitation could have made. Ways of avoiding left-turn accidents include:
- Always give the right-of-way to other traffic. You’re not in that big a hurry.
- Start signaling for a left-hand turn at least 150 feet before coming to the intersection.
- Be alert for other vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, or pedestrians in your path, and be prepared to yield. You never know what they’re thinking, you can only react.
- Drive safe for yourself, not for other drivers. Don’t depend on the oncoming car that may be slowing down to let you make the turn. Give yourself plenty of time to maneuver from a stopped position.
- Don’t start turning until your vehicle’s front wheel is in line with the center of the street you’re entering. It’s called “cutting the corner” and it’s a really bad idea.
Stay Smart And Call a Tampa Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The bottom line is that motorcyclists’ safety largely depends on not just their actions, but also the actions and care exercised by others.
If a motorcycle accident does occur and you find yourself in need of legal advice, Darrigo & Diaz has your back. We’ve been handling personal injury cases in the Tampa area since 1999. Our team of lawyers, assistants, paralegals, and other staff bring all that experience and know-how to help you get the compensation you need after a motorcycle accident. Call us today at (813) 774-3341 or contact us via our website. The first consultation is free, so there’s no risk to you and no reason to wait.