While the above motorcycle accident seems like a simple, tragic crash, it is actually one of the most common – and one of the most preventable – types of motorcycle crashes that occur in Washington State. Although turning left into an oncoming motorcycle seems like nothing more than a mistake that could happen to anyone, in truth it reveals a common problem for motorcycles on the road today: drivers are not as aware of motorcyclists as they need to be.
Very simply, motorcycles are more difficult to see than larger cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and big rigs. A cursory glance by a driver making a left turn may not catch the smaller, lower vehicle approaching in the other direction. Moments later, the car has turned in front of an oncoming vehicle – and usually the biker receives the brunt of the physical damage.
How can drivers prevent left turn motorcycle accidents?
• Be aware that motorcycles are on the road and that they are more difficult to see. • Look twice before turning, especially if you are turning left and especially if you are on a busy street. • Take precautions during times of low visibility, such as dawn, dusk, rainstorms, or fog. • Never assume an oncoming vehicle is obeying the speed limit.
How can motorcycle riders prevent left turn motorcycle accidents?
• Keep your headlight on at all times, even during the day. • Buy a bike in a bright, easy-to-see color, such as yellow. • Always obey the speed limit. • Be aware that drivers turning left in front of you may not see you approaching and be prepared to brake or avoid the accident.