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Left-turn motorcycle accidents: Risks and safety

One of the most dangerous things a motorcyclist can ever encounter is another vehicle that is about to turn left.

Accidents happen for a variety of reasons, but these left-turn crashes are among the most common accidents that riders face. Drivers often do not see motorcycles. They wait for traffic to pass them by on two-lane roads, then they turn left through that oncoming lane.

Three major factors play into these types of accidents and knowing them can help you avoid them:

Low visibility

Lack of visibility is the main contributing factor. To stay safe, riders may want to consider wearing reflective clothing or at least a bright jacket in neon green, yellow or orange. Anything that increases visibility and catches drivers' eyes could save your life. Remember, a driver makes that decision to turn in a split second. Just a flash of color may be enough to cause them to hesitate, and that second of hesitation can prevent the entire accident.

Underestimating speeds

Another issue is that drivers often do not realize just how quickly a motorcycle is traveling. Part of it has to do with the size of the vehicle itself. It's deceptive. On a highway filled with cars and trucks, a small bike appears farther away than it really is. Drivers think they have space to turn when the bike is actually closer and moving faster than it appears.

The only real way to counter this is for motorcycle riders to make sure they always obey the speed limit. Assume that drivers are going to misjudge your speed and reduce it if you must to avoid an accident.

Rushing through gaps

People often get impatient on the road, especially when waiting to turn. As soon as there is a small gap, a driver may try to rush through it. If he or she doesn't make it before the rider reaches the intersection, the rider takes the worst of the impact.

To protect themselves, motorcyclists should watch out for gaps and try to stay with the flow of traffic. If there are gaps ahead of them, they need to remain vigilant and watch out for cars turning through those gaps - cars that could be hidden from view by other traffic.

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