Photo of Edward P. Shaughnessy
Photo of Edward P. Shaughnessy

Why do drivers keep turning left in front of motorcycles?

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2021 | Motorcycle Accidents |

Motorcyclists often get injured in left-turn accidents. This doesn’t mean the bike is turning left, but that someone else is turning left in front of the motorcycle. They don’t leave enough space and hit the bike — or cause it to run into the side of the vehicle — while executing this turn. It generally happens on two-way roads.

It’s well-known that this is one of the most common types of motorcycle accidents. It’s also a very dangerous crash because the motorcyclist has no way to avoid it and has very little protection. The person in the car that gets hit in the side may be fine, but the motorcyclist could suffer life-altering injuries — broken bones, spinal cord injuries, burn injuries, traumatic brain injuries and much more.

So, as problematic as this is, why does it keep happening? Why do drivers keep making this mistake?

They think the bike is a gap in traffic

Often, the issue is that there is a steady flow of oncoming traffic. The driver who is turning left has to wait and look for a gap through which they can execute the turn. Because of the small size of a bike, they may think that they see a gap, when they really see the space taken up by a motorcycle. If they turn instantly, without really looking, they can cause a crash.

They think the bike is farther away

Motorcycles are also relatively fast and much smaller than cars and trucks. This can make them appear to be farther away than they are. The driver may think they have plenty of time to turn and then be shocked to see how close the bike really is as they start that turn.

They just don’t see the motorcycle at all

It’s stunning how often drivers say that they never saw the motorcycle or that it “came out of nowhere.” This can happen for a lot of reasons, such as the fact that drivers expect cars and trucks and never look for bikes, or the fact that smaller, black motorcycles may blend into the road. Either way, accidents happen when drivers don’t see motorcycles until the collision.

If you get injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to seek compensation for lost wages, medical bills and much more.