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Motorcycle accident avoidance: Prevent left-turn crashes

The most common motorcycle accident happens like this: You're riding down the road on your bike and you have the right of way. However, a vehicle heading in the opposite direction doesn't see you. It makes a left turn across traffic and drives directly into your path.

These are known as "left-turn accidents" and they are the most common way for motorcyclists to get injured. In this article, we'll discuss how to avoid them.

Tips for avoiding left-turn accidents

The best way for motorcyclists to avoid a left-turn accident is to scan the road ahead and see the potential before it happens. This involves looking for signs and chances that a vehicle could turn in front of you.

Perhaps you see a vehicle at an intersection waiting to turn left. Maybe there's a gap in vehicle traffic, and you happen to be inside that gap. Motorcyclists are harder for vehicle drivers to see, especially when vehicle drivers aren't watching carefully.

In these situations, when you see a car that looks like it might turn left in front of you, it's important to immediately slow down. Don't trust that the driver is going to see you. Also, keep your hands on your breaks and get ready to evade the car if it does pull out in front of you.

Evaluate the threat

It might seem like a hassle to always be looking around you for a potential accident, but doing this is how motorcyclists stay alive. If you see a car that might turn left, try to evaluate how serious the threat of accident is.

  • For example, do trees or other vehicles obstruct the car driver's view of you?
  • If you need to take evasive action, are there obstacles or other vehicles around you that would prevent you from getting out of the way?
  • Is the driver looking at you and attentive?
  • How fast is the driver traveling?

All of these factors will determine the level of threat, and how alert you should be.

When a vehicle driver makes a left turn into the path of a motorcyclist, the driver will likely be financially liable for the motorcyclist's injuries and damages. However, when a motorcyclist can avoid the accident in the first place, preventing injuries and death in a motorcycle accident -- and preventing the need to pursue legal action -- is clearly preferable.

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