Drivers turning left must always yield to oncoming traffic unless they have a green left-turn signal at a traffic light or right-of-way at a four-way stop. Unfortunately, far too many people ignore this rule, which can have deadly consequences for motorcyclists.
The most dangerous situation for a motorcyclist to be in is passing through an intersection where another driver is trying to turn left—which will put the turning vehicle directly in their path. Although the motorcyclist going straight has the right-of-way, over one-third of all motorcycle collisions happen when a vehicle turns left in front of a motorcyclist.
Why Do These Collisions Happen?
This type of crash is all too common, which may cause victims to wonder, “why does this keep happening?” There are several reasons that may contribute to the high numbers of left turn crashes.
- The driver didn’t see the motorcyclist. It is a known phenomenon that drivers may begin driving on “autopilot” when driving a familiar route, such as their daily commute. When not fully engaged in driving, drivers may only notice other cars and fail to see motorcycles, which are smaller and lower to the ground.
- The driver misjudged how fast the motorcyclist was traveling. Because motorcycles are much smaller than cars, a driver’s brain may be tricked into believing a motorcycle is farther away than it actually is. This might mislead a driver to think there is enough time to turn before the motorcycle enters the intersection when there isn’t.
- The driver was trying to turn before the light turned red. Many times, a driver waiting to turn left may begin to turn as soon as the light turns yellow because they expect the oncoming traffic to stop. However, even on a yellow light, oncoming traffic still has the right of way.
- The driver may have been distracted. Distracted driving is a major source of auto and motorcycle accidents, and not just when turning left. If a driver is looking at their phone, messing with their radio or GPS, eating, getting something from their purse, or even just speaking with a passenger, they may be too distracted to notice the approaching motorcycle.
- The driver was breaking the law. Sometimes crashes happen because negligent drivers don’t respect traffic laws and will turn left regardless of whether it is safe or legal to do so.
Injured Motorcyclists Can Get Compensation for Left Turn Collisions
In more than two-thirds of motorcycle crashes involving another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle is at fault. And when motorcyclists are not at fault for their crashes, they deserve and can get compensation for their damages, including:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of future treatment required for their crash-related injuries
- Lost income for paychecks missed while recovering from injuries, as well as reduced income if those injuries prevent the victim from working as many hours or from doing the same work they did before the crash
- Physical pain and emotional distress as a result of the crash
- Reduced enjoyment of life if suffering from permanent, disfiguring, or disabling injuries
In cases of fatal accidents, families of victims may also be entitled to funeral expenses, loss of companionship, loss of income, and more.
Unfortunately, even though drivers of other vehicles are often responsible for crashes that injure motorcyclists, there is a deep bias against motorcyclists, especially in the insurance industry. Insurance adjusters will often assume that motorcyclists caused their own crashes by riding recklessly, even when this isn’t true.
That’s where an experienced motorcycle lawyer can step in.
Call The Vance Law Firm for a Free Consultation
When you or someone you love has been hurt in a motorcycle crash through no fault of your own, the Alabama motorcycle accident attorneys at The Vance Law Firm want to help. We stand up against insurance companies that try to pin the blame on motorcyclists for the actions of negligent drivers, and we know how to build strong claims that prove our clients had no fault in their own crashes.
Call our firm today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your options after a crash and find out how much money you may be owed.