Motorcycle Collisions with Left-Turning Vehicles

Many motorcyclists have experienced the feeling of being “invisible” to other drivers on the road, and unfortunately some have suffered the results of major impacts as well. Theories abound as to why other drivers seem to have difficult seeing motorcylists — some studies indicate that motorcycles tend to “blend in” to backgrounds more easily than cars and trucks; other studies conclude that motorcyles are less conspicuous simply because a driver’s attention is more readily drawn to and held by larger vehicles.

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Whatever the reason for this “invisibility,” one situation in which it is most apparent is in left turn accidents in which drivers heading in the opposite direction of a motorcyclist suddenly execute a left-hand turn directly in front of them, leaving the motorcyclist little or no time to react.  Interviewed after the resulting collision, many of these drivers will simply say, “I never saw the motorcyclist.”

Statistics indicate that between 30 and 40 percent of motorcyclist fatalities result from this type of collision. Given that the motorcyclist may be at or near full cruising speed when this type of sudden collision occurs, even those impacts that aren’t fatal may result in very severe injuries.

Obvious ways to help be more visible to other drivers include always driving with your head light on, wearing bright clothing and helmet with stand-out colors. It’s also very important to be aware of this particular type of motorcycle versus car or truck collision, and approach with caution any vehicle headed toward you that appears to be preparing to make a left-hand turn. Moving to a lane farther from the center of the roadway (to give yourself a little extra maneuveruing room), having you hand near your brake controls, and planning escape routes in case they’re needed can all provide a little extra edge that may mean the difference between a close call and a serious impact.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle collision, however, it’s important to consult an experienced attorney, such as Sacramento motorcycle accident attorney Edward A. Smith.

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