While hazards exist for everyone who shares the road, some can be especially dangerous for certain groups. For example, left turns can be especially dangerous for motorcyclists. It’s important to understand why this is and how fault is determined in this type of accident.
Why Left Turns are Dangerous for Motorcyclists
Whenever someone is making a left turn, it is their responsibility to do so only when it’s safe. That means not turning if there is an oncoming vehicle. Passenger cars risk a T-bone crash, which certainly can be serious. But for motorcyclists, the consequences can be even more devastating due to their lack of protection.
Reduced visibility is one of the main reasons a vehicle turns left in the path of a motorcyclist. It’s not uncommon to hear a driver say afterwards that he didn’t even see the bike. For instance, it can look like the bike is farther away than it really is, but that’s not an excuse for making an unsafe turn.
The problem with visibility applies to a variety of situations. But it’s notably an issue at intersections and even more so when traffic is heavy. Motorcyclists should be aware of this risk and remain especially vigilant whenever going through a dangerous intersection.
Determining Fault in a Left-Turn Motorcycle Accident
In many left-turn motorcycle crashes, the person at fault is the one who made the turn. As mentioned, the failure to see a motorcycle doesn’t justify turning in front of it. In fact, many times, it is the motorist’s failure to pay attention that causes him not to see a bike. At the same time, motorcyclists can make themselves more visible by wearing bright colors or reflective gear.
Another issue is that the person turning left may be reckless and decides to take a risk, cutting in front of the bike. Sometimes this stems from a lack of respect for a motorcyclist’s rights to the road. But whatever the reason, it is negligence and is likely to result in the driver being found at fault.
There are circumstances, however, when the motorcyclist could be partially or completely at fault for a left-turn accident. One example is when speeding. Going just five miles higher than the speed limit might be considered a contributing factor, resulting in both parties being at fault.
But if the motorcyclist was going 20 miles more than the speed limit when passing through the Washington and Lincoln Avenue intersection in Newtown, for example, it could be argued the person turning left had no way of anticipating the oncoming bike, or the bike had not yet become visible when the car began its turn.
Another situation where a motorcyclist might be at fault is when he or she proceeds through an intersection using the wrong lane. An example is going straight while in a right-turn-only lane. If the motorcyclist goes through a red light, this also could be a factor in determining fault for the accident.
Seeking Legal Advice When Seriously Injured in a Left-Turn Motorcycle Accident
Although in most cases fault is easily determined in a left-turn accident, there are challenges that can arise. The driver’s insurance company against which a seriously injured biker is filing a claim might try to deflect blame onto the motorcyclist to reduce the driver’s liability.
Motorcyclists who suffer serious injuries in the Newtown, Pa., area and their families would benefit from talking to an attorney. A lawyer can help establish fault and liability for the accident, as well as the types of compensation that might be recoverable in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Contact Cordisco & Saile LLC at 215-642-2335 or fill out our online contact form to set up a consultation to discuss the details of your case.