Some North Carolina motor vehicle accidents keep happening over and over, in the sense that a pattern of cause-and-effect repeats. In fact, those patterns are so common that certain types of accident become classics of their type. Consider motorcycle accidents, for example:
The classic form of a single-vehicle motorcycle accident involves a male driver with alcohol in his system who loses control of his bike while traveling at excessive speed at night. The rider fails to make a turn in the road or has run into a stationary object, and was thrown from his motorcycle. Odds are about 3-to-1 that he was not wearing a helmet, if he was riding in a state where helmet use is optional. Even if helmets are required by state law, as in North Carolina, he would be only 55 percent likely to wear one.
The classic two-vehicle motorcycle accident is caused by the driver of a car or truck making a left turn at an intersection. The driver either will make a lane shift as he approaches the intersection, cutting off the motorcycle approaching from the rear, or else the driver will complete a left turn in front of the motorcycle passing through an intersection.
What is it about left-turn crashes?
Recurrent patterns in North Carolina motorcycle accidents compel us to look for a recurring cause. The statistics suggest that there is something special going on when a left-turn passenger vehicle gets near a motorcycle. Our Wilmington traffic injury lawyers suggest that the following factors probably all come into play:
- Motorcycles are hard to see. Bikers in North Carolina always should assume they are invisible to motorists, because in many ways they are. Car and truck drivers often let their minds wander from the task of driving, and studies find they simply aren’t alert to smaller vehicles. In addition, the narrow profile of bikes can conceal them in cars’ blind spots. It’s unfair, but motorcyclists have to take on the burden of planning how best to react when the other driver makes a mistake.
- Drivers misjudge speed and distance. Studies show that passenger vehicle drivers simply cannot accurately estimate how far away a bicycle or motorcycle is, or its rate of travel. Drivers may think they are executing left turns with an adequate safety margin—but they are wildly in error.
- Drivers don’t give up the right of way. Motorcycles have equal rights to use streets and highways in North Carolina. They have claim to the same space on the road as an automobile. Many drivers of passenger cars aren’t willing to concede that. One study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that failure to yield right of way led to two-thirds of all car-motorcycle accidents. The classic example, of course, is when a car turning left fails to yield to oncoming motorcycle traffic.
Where can you turn, after your left-turn crash?
Left-turn accidents are among the most common motorcycle crashes in North Carolina. If you were injured in any traffic accident in New Hanover County due to the negligence of another driver, you should talk with an experienced Wilmington personal injury attorney who will help protect your rights. Call Speaks Law Firm today at 910-341-7570 or toll-free at 877-593-4233 to receive a free, no-obligation legal consultation.