Left-Turn Collision Motorcycle Accidents

Passenger vehicles making careless left turns are one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents resulting in serious injury or death.

As the National Technical Information Service reports, 75 percent of all motorcycle crashes involve collisions with other vehicles. Of those, more than 40 percent involve situations in which a passenger vehicles makes a left turn directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle.

Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm know that unfortunately, many drivers fail to remain conscientious about the fact that motorcycles share the road.

There are 75,000 drivers with motorcycle endorsements just in Broward County alone, according to a report by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Statewide, there are more than 1.1 million. Those figures have increased steadily in the last decade, with Broward motorcycle endorsements climbing 25 percent from 2005 to 2015.

Still, drivers of passenger vehicles, commercial trucks, buses and other vehicles fail to maintain a proper lookout for motorcycles or respect the roadway space to which they are entitled. Our motorcycle injury lawyers are dedicated to ensuring victims of motorcycle accidents receive the compensation they justly deserve.

Understanding Left Turn Accidents

State and national data reveals fault in most motorcycle crashes is assigned to the non-motorcycle driver, and left-turn accidents are no different. Although the act of “cutting someone off” in traffic is both rude and illegal in any circumstance, it can have potentially fatal consequences where motorcycles are involved.

As it is, the NHTSA reports motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger vehicle. They are also five times as likely to be injured.

Left-turn accidents occur when a car, truck or even another motorcycle initiates a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcyclist. In other cases, collisions occur when a vehicle makes a left turn alongside a motorcycle and fails to maintain their vehicle in the proper lane.

For obvious reasons, these accidents primarily happen at intersections. At-fault drivers are usually:

  • Passing another vehicle that is waiting for oncoming traffic
  • Driving into an intersection without proper authority
  • Trying to beat a turn signal that is changing colors
  • Making a U-turn without first checking for vehicles with the right-of-way

Although left-turn accidents are also a frequent problem for all drivers and occupants of passenger cars and other vehicles, they are especially concerning for motorcyclists due to the size disparity. Motorcyclists are less protected from direct impact than those riding in a fully-enclosed vehicle. Even when donning a helmet and other protective gear, the risk of serious injury and death is high in these instances.

Left-turn accidents are also more common for motorcyclists because of the smaller visual profile. A passenger car driver whose vision is already impeded by glare or obstructed by the vehicle turning ahead of them, they are less likely to spot the motorcyclist. Combine this with other common risk factors, like distracted driving, and the results can be devastating.

Speed is a common factor in many crashes, but most left- turn accidents involving motorcycles occur at less than 30 miles-per-hour. Even so, about 90 percent result in injuries to the motorcyclist, and 45 percent of those are classified as “serious.”

Injuries in Left-Turn Accidents

Among the most common injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents caused by improper left turns are:

  • Broken bones. Due to the fact most motorcycles don’t stand upright on their own, crashes result in the bike falling over. It usually occurs so fast, the rider’s leg remains underneath the vehicle. That’s why broken legs are so common. Wrist and arm fractures can also result when riders attempt to catch themselves.
  • Road rash/ burns. Motorcycle operators and riders in accidents usually make contact with the road surface. Even when wearing protective gear, the skin may be vulnerable to “road rash,” which is an abrasion of the skin that can range from mild to severe. When it is severe, it can result in complete removal of the skin, necessitating immediate medical attention.
  • Head Injuries. The leading cause of death in motorcycle accidents is head injury. More specifically, traumatic brain injury. Florida law does not require helmets to be worn by motorcyclists, but NHTSA research has shown that in states without universal helmet laws, nearly 60 percent of motorcyclists killed weren’t wearing them. That’s compared to 8 percent in states that have universal helmet laws. The fact of whether a person was wearing a helmet in Florida will not affect the at-fault driver’s liability.

Preventing Left Turn Collisions

In order to make a safe left-turn, motor vehicle drivers should:

  • Make sure to be in the appropriate lane for the turn;
  • Make sure to use proper signaling;
  • Slow down the vehicle approximately 100 feet prior to the intersection;
  • Wait to make the turn until it is 100 percent clear to proceed.

Motorcyclists injured in left turn accidents should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident, contact The Ansara Law Firm, by calling (954) 761-4011 or toll-free at (888) ANSARA-8.