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About left turns from the point of view of a motorcyclist

There has been an ongoing discussion in our country about whether drivers should avoid making left-hand turns. Most motorists view his kind of effort as largely problematic and time-consuming.

However, a disastrous crash can occur if a motorist makes a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle, shedding a different light on the matter. What can a rider do to prevent this?

The risks involved

To begin with, the motorist has to judge whether there is enough time to make a left-hand turn. The California Driver Handbook advises drivers to maneuver close to the center line or left-turn lane and to begin signaling about 100 feet before making the turn. The guidebook says: “Look left, then right, then left again, and make the turn when it is safe.” Yet, there is a problem when a motorcycle is coming. Drivers of passenger cars or pick-ups look for vehicles of the same size or larger, not the smaller, two-wheeled vehicles. Also, if a line of cars has formed behind the driver seeking to turn left, he or she may feel the stress of delaying others and make the turn before it is safe enough to do so.

How the motorcyclist reacts

The most common vehicle-motorcycle crash is one that results from someone making a left-hand turn in front of an oncoming motorcyclist. The driver either does not see the motorcycle or misjudges the speed at which it is moving. The rider must always remember that intersections are dangerous and that left turns are common. Accidents can happen in seconds, and the car waiting in the turn lane is a potential threat. The rider should slow down, cover his brakes and prepare to take evasive action if necessary. He should also focus on the wheels of the vehicle in the turn lane because they provide the first hint of movement.

Looking at results

An intersection accident involving a car and a motorcycle can cause devasting results. If the motorcyclist was hemmed in, for example, and had no way to escape a head-on crash with the left-turning vehicle, his injuries could be extremely severe. However, legal options are available, and insurance compensation for the rider begins with a thorough investigation that proves liability on the part of the driver.

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