Some of the most unnecessary motorcycle collisions occur when a motorcyclist clearly has the right of way at a stop sign or intersection but a motorist decides to make a left-hand turn in front of the motorcyclist, cutting him or her off. There are several reasons why this may happen:
- The motorist may misjudge the distance between him- or herself and the motorcyclist, believing that the motorist has sufficient space and time to make the turn when he or she does not;
- The motorist may not see the motorcyclist (if the motorist was looking at a cellphone, for example) and may turn believing that there is no oncoming traffic;
- The motorist may be in a hurry and expect the motorcyclist to yield to the motorist;
- The motorist may simply be uninformed as to the “rules of the road” and may not know he or she is supposed to yield to oncoming traffic.
Whatever the cause, these reasons reveal that most left-turn collisions can be avoided and motorcyclists spared the physical pain and mental trauma that accompany motorcycle injuries if the motorist would have only exercised reasonable care and caution.
Can Motorcycle Left Turn Collisions Be Avoided?
In the vast majority of cases, motorists that make a left-hand turn and cause a collision with a motorcycle are driving in a careless or negligent way. In the legal world, a person is said to be negligent if his or her driving behaviors are different from the driving behaviors and decisions that a reasonably careful and prudent driver would have exhibited. Such a reasonably careful and prudent driver knows that absent a traffic signal indicating otherwise, a motorist making a left-hand turn must yield to oncoming traffic, including motorcyclists. This driver would also not attempt to “out-turn” the motorcyclist and complete the left-hand turn if there was not sufficient space to do so safely.
Motorcyclists cannot control the behaviors and thinking of other motorists, but they can take steps to help prevent the occurrence of left-turn collisions and injuries by:
- Making sure to always wear a helmet and protective clothing while driving. In the event of a collision, a properly-fitted and approved helmet can significantly reduce the likelihood of traumatic brain injuries or death;
- Wearing bright, highly visible clothing so that motorists are better able to see the motorcyclist. In addition, headlights and other lights on the motorcycle should be in good working order and should be illuminated at night and during inclement weather;
- Riding defensively, which means being aware of what other traffic and motorists are doing on the roadway. If the motorcyclist observes that a car ahead of him or her coming from the opposite direction is preparing to make a left hand turn (either the rider sees the car’s turn signal or sees that the car has come to a stop at an intersecting road), the motorcyclist should begin to slow down and prepare him- or herself in case the car does attempt to make a left-hand turn. Although the motorcyclist could be forgiven if he or she believed the car should wait for him or her to pass before turning, it is far better to avoid a collision and not have to pursue compensation than running the risk of being hurt in a left-turn collision.
What To Do After a Left Turn Collision
As a motorcyclist injured in a left-turn collision, your first concern should be moving yourself and your motorcycle out of the way of other traffic. This will help reduce the chance that you would be injured by another careless motorist who does not see you or your bike in the roadway. Next, you should summon emergency medical assistance to evaluate you and your injuries. If you are not able to make the call yourself, ask the other motorist or a witness or bystander to make the call for you. If you suspect you have suffered a head, neck, or spine injury, do not move unless you must do so to remain safe as moving can exacerbate these injuries.
If you are able to safely do so, you should attempt to get the name and other identifying information (license plate number, insurance information, etc.) from the driver. This will assist you in filing a claim with the appropriate insurance company and will definitely be helpful in the event you need to file a motorcycle crash lawsuit. You should also contact a motorcycle accident law firm such as Stern Law, PLLC as soon as you can. Involving an attorney early in the process can help you obtain compensation quicker and can enable the attorney to take legal action to preserve evidence you may need to prove your case. Call Stern Law, PLLC at (844) 808-7529 and discuss your left-turn collision case with us right away.