Motorcyclists: Be careful when cars are turning left

Is driver awareness the main key to keeping motorcyclists safe? If drivers just understood the risks on the road and knew what they could do to be safer, would they avoid these accidents?

Not every accident could be avoided through increased awareness, of course, but many could. Take, for example, the infamous left-turn accident. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation notes that most crashes involve two or more vehicles and that one of the top ten reasons for these accidents is that the other vehicle turns left in front of the motorcycle.

These accidents are often due to a lack of awareness. The driver does not look for the motorcycle or looks and does not see it. They do not turn with the anticipation that it’s going to be close or that the motorcycle should slow down. They turn while thinking that the way is clear. Many are shocked when the motorcycle then hits the side of the car, as they did not know it was there until the crash.

Motorcyclists have to be aware of this risk. Often, all that the motorcyclist has to do, from a legal standpoint, is drive straight. They have the right of way. They’re on a straight road, are driving the speed limit and are staying between the lines. But they still need to watch oncoming traffic to see if a car is slowing to turn. If so, they need to be wary and understand how often these drivers make very critical errors.

Until drivers also understand this risk, though, accidents will keep happening. Those who get hit need to know what steps to take next.