Left Hand Turn Collisions – Violating the Right-of-Way

People driving cars and trucks often fail to notice motorcycles.  That’s why half of all accidents involving motorcycles are caused by drivers turning left in front of the motorcyclist.

According to the Hurt Report, “the most common motorcycle accident involves another vehicle causing the collision by violating the right-of-way of the motorcycle at an intersection, usually by turning left in front of the oncoming motorcycle because the car driver did not see the motorcycle.”

Take, for example, this serious accident between a car and motorcycle that occurred in Burien a couple weeks ago:

Two riders on the motorcycle – one male and one female, both in their 50s – received leg injuries that may include possible breakage. Both were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police say that the car was westbound when it made a left turn at a stop sign to head south, then pulled in front of a motorcycle that was northbound.

According to the Hurt Report, some accidents are caused when drivers misjudge the speed at which the motorcycle is traveling. The small profile of motorcycles affects perceptions of speed and distance. For example, a 14-wheel truck will be perceived as traveling faster and being closer than a motorcycle at the same distance moving at the same speed.

There are a lot of explanations.  But not a lot of excuses.  Drivers turning left have a duty to yield the right-of-way to an oncoming motorcyclist. If a left-turning driver hits a motorcyclist, the motorcyclist is entitled to recover.

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