Just this past Saturday afternoon, yet another motorcyclist lost their life because of an all-too-common driver error made by someone else.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a man was travelling south on U.S. 41 in Naples, near the intersection of Courthouse Shadows. A car travelling in the northbound direction tried to make a left turn, apparently not seeing the oncoming biker. The motorcyclist was not able to avert the crash, and hit the car.
All you have to do is watch the local news to see how many motorcycle crashes take so many lives locally, or cause serious, life-threatening injuries. A little more research will show you that in the majority of car-vs-motorcycle crashes, the cause is a driver who apparently did not see a motorcycle coming from the other direction, and turned into their path.
The driver of the car in the recent Naples accident was charged with ‘failure to yield'. That sounds like a pretty innocuous charge, considering it cost someone their life.
According to the National Transportation Safety Administration, left turn accidents involving a car not yielding the right of way to an oncoming motorcycle account for 42% of all collisions on U.S. roadways. As personal injury attorneys in Southwest Florida, we have handled countless cases that happen when a driver in a car simply does not see an oncoming bike, and tries to make a left turn into their direction of travel.
These types of crashes are some of the most horrific scenarios on our local roads – and sadly, they are increasing in number.
Experienced riders know all too well the potential dangers that a left turn accident can pose, and a seasoned motorcyclist will always keep their eye on any oncoming traffic in the opposing lanes. There are so many causes for these types of crashes, and not all of them involve ‘not seeing the motorcycle'.
“I lose count of how many times a day I see someone trying to beat the traffic signal, and shoot across 3 lanes of oncoming traffic”, says Fort Myers personal injury lawyer Scot D. Goldberg. “People are so impatient that unfortunately it can cost someone their life”.
One of the problems is on roads that have multiple lanes of traffic, there may be an oncoming motorcycle travelling in the opposite direction in the outside, or farthest to the right, lane. In those instances, both the rider and the driver of a car trying to make it across 2 or 3 lanes have obstructed vision. The motorcyclist often does not have time to react, and crashes into the car making the left turn.
The Right Way to Make a Left Turn
If you're driving a car, there are several things you can do to ensure your safety, and that of any oncoming cars or motorcycles. The first one should go without saying, but sadly, it needs to be said: don't be a moron. By racing into a left turn at an intersecting road without fully recognizing the oncoming traffic situation, you are putting lives at risk.
Some others include:
- Don't creep out into oncoming traffic, hoping someone will slow down to let you cross.
- Always use your turn signals to indicate your intention to turn left – don't make oncoming motorists try to guess what you plan to do.
- When preparing to make a left turn, slow down, and allow time to focus on all lanes of approaching traffic.
- Stay in your lane. If your left turn involves multiple lanes of traffic, do not cross over into an adjacent lane.
- Oncoming traffic, as well as pedestrians crossing the roadway, has the right of way.
The simple key to avoiding these types of devastating crashes is to pay full attention to the road. Always use the highest amount of situational awareness, look in all directions and in your mirrors prior to making a left hand turn, and make sure your direction of travel is clear. Keep your phone or lunch far from your reach – one split-second distraction could mean you will be held responsible for causing a serious injury, or even a fatality.
Helping people and families who have been victimized by someone not yielding the right of way is what we do. Goldberg, Racila, D'Alessandro & Noone is dedicated to fighting for the full legal rights of motorcyclists hurt or killed in left turn crashes, and we know how to go up against the insurance company lawyers, who will do everything they can to try to pay you as little possible, if anything at all.
Proving liability for a left turn accident is never easy. Our years of experience in personal injury law will be key to your receiving the fair financial compensation you deserve. If you or someone you know has been involved in a crash because someone failed to yield the right of way in a left turn accident, we encourage you to give us a call at 239-461-5508. It doesn't cost a penny to sit down with us and review the circumstances of your situation. We'll even come to your house, or visit you in the hospital, if necessary.
Don't wait until your memory of the crash or any physical evidence is gone or compromised – call Goldberg, Racila, D'Alessandro & Noone immediately to make every attempt to get your life back in order.
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