A common driver mistake: left turns in front of motorcyclists

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2023 | Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle season is arriving again at last. With that in mind, safety comes to the forefront for anyone getting on their bike.

On the road, motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable, often due to the mistakes made by other drivers. One such mistake that may prove fatal or lead to life-changing injuries to a motorcyclist is when a car, pickup, SUV or large truck makes a left turn in front of a bike.

Misjudging distances and speeds of motorcycles

Motorcycle safety awareness is a necessity and not just for motorcyclists. This especially holds true for drivers who, sometimes, disregard motorcycles, misjudge the distances between their vehicles, the speed of the motorcycle or are distracted by their cellphones while behind the wheel.

Too many deaths caused by this driver mistake

Across the U.S., fatal crashes between motorcycles and other vehicles led to more than 2,741 deaths in 2020. Colorado accounted for 140 of those fatalities. A total of 42% of these two-vehicle collisions were attributed to drivers turning left in front of the motorcycle, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Government statistics note that these left-turn crashes occurred when the motorcyclist traveled straight, passed or overtook the other vehicle.

Many of these crashes occur at intersections. When a car makes that left turn in front of a moving motorcycle, it often means that the driver violated the motorcyclist’s right of way by cutting off its path.

Motorcyclists understand that a crash may happen at a moment’s notice when encountering a negligent driver. This is why they must remain alert and visible, ride defensively and remain out of the blind spots of other drivers.

Remain aware and stay safe

With the arrival of motorcycle season in Colorado, motorcyclists will enjoy the freedom of being on the open road. However, as they do every year, motorcyclists must remain vigilant and aware of the potential dangers they face. Left turning motor vehicles represent an ever-present threat.