How Common Are Left-Turn Accidents Involving Motorcycles?

You are an experienced motorcycle rider. You might feel invincible if you have all your safety gear on and abide by all rules and regulations.

However, motorcycle riders are more prone to external elements, riding on two wheels than other vehicles. You are more at risk of injuries from the wrongdoings of other cars than they are of you making minor mistakes.

Lanes designated for motorcycles are often on outer parts of roadways, putting riders at more risk of left-turn accidents in an intersection. If the car turns left before an oncoming motorcycle can halt, it may result in fatal accidents.

Motorcycle collisions are the most common road accidents anywhere in the United States.

Over fifty motorcycle accidents are recorded in Massachusetts yearly, and such cases often result in injuries, damages, and fatalities. With left-turn accidents making up 40% of those statistics, all road users must familiarize themselves with what to do during and after and what they can do to prevent them.

What Constitutes a Left-Turn Motorcycle Accident?

A left-turn motorcycle accident is common even in states with lanes measuring a standard width of 11.5ft, like Massachusett roadways. A left-turn accident happens when a vehicle causes a collision between itself and another road user while making a left-hand turn.

Considering motorcycle lanes are on the outermost part of roads and highways, most left-turn accidents involve a motorcycle.

We know the Federal consensus is often: whoever hits the vehicle in front of them is the guilty party. However, there are significant exceptions while turning left at an intersection.

Depending on what transpires with all the vehicles involved in the left-turn collision, the motorcycle rider may still be owed compensation if the rider hits the oncoming car in front of it. A car driver ahead still does not have the right of way against a motorcycle behind it in the leftmost lane.

Left turns are tricky grounds and are even tougher to remember during an accident. Contact reliable personal injury attorneys for more circumstantially specific advice and urgent concerns.

How to Avoid Left-Turn Accidents?

Since they make up nearly half of all road collisions in the U.S., you are more prone to encountering left-turn motorcycle casualties than any other traffic mishaps on your bike. Still, there are ways to prevent left-turn motorcycle crashes and avoid collisions altogether.

Keeping your eyes on the road is one thing, but focusing is another. You can lose your focus while maintaining your gaze on the road in front of you. Start with these simple steps to ensure your safety.

  • Focus on the road.
  • Be aware of surrounding traffic.
  • Obey all traffic laws.
  • Observe all relevant safety regulations.

Relevant Laws: Left-Turn Motorcycle Accidents

Since you can’t obey what you don’t know, you should always brush up on all relevant regulations. While there are Federal laws encompassing state lines, there are some state-specific ordinances that vary. Road regulations differ from city to city due to differences in road configurations, state statistics, and common habits of the standard driver.

Here are what you need to know before riding a motorcycle in Massachusetts:

  • Riders may only wear helmets approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
  • Riders must have their Class M license while operating a motorcycle.
  • A motorcycle’s handlebars should only be below the rider’s shoulder level.
  • Always wear bright clothing at night.
  • Lane-splitting is considered illegal in Massachusetts.

A left-turn accident can happen anywhere, and motorists with improper gear are the most at risk of injuries and fatalities. Most SNELL- and ANSI-certified helmets fall under DOT-approved helmets and are considered street-legal on Massachusett roadways. DOT-approved helmets bear a certificate on their label or inside tag.

It would be best if you remember these tips before making a left-hand turn in Massachusetts.

  1. Before a car turns left, it must yield to the road right of way. (Opposing oncoming traffic, pedestrians, and cyclists) 
  2. Do not cut any oncoming motorcycle or car.
  3. Unlike right-hand turns, the driver must wait for a green light or arrow to turn left.
  4. If there are no traffic signals, drivers must wait to turn left until opposing traffic is stopped or distant.

A motorcycle accident is potentially more fatal than a dual-car crash. Turning on blinkers and turn signals should be second nature to all motorists, especially while turning left. However, those distracted or in a rush may neglect this simple life-saving technique.

Statistics: Motorcycle Accident Cases

On average, motorcycle accidents occur on the highway or at an intersection. According to statistics, 29.5 miles per hour is the median speed a motorcycle travels before getting into a collision. Considering the speed limit for motorcycles on most highways is 20mph, overspeeding is among many culprits. Any vehicle over the speed limit is dangerous to others and punishable by law. Left-turn motorcycle accidents with at least one car going over the limit may almost certainly result in one or multiple fatalities. If the crash involves injured motorcycle passengers, the rider and their passenger may both be entitled to compensation by the guilty party and their insurer.

Personal injury

A personal injury claim requires negligence beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s what insurers will tell you. However, skilled personal injury attorneys know how to navigate insurance policies before they wear you out for filing a claim. See, broken bones require costly medical attention, and if you were caught making dangerous left turns to cause the injury, your insurance provider might not provide the compensation you need.

You will have to go through a costly legal process. If you can prove another vehicle caused the accident, such as an oncoming vehicle cutting your right of way, you may get fair compensation from both insurers.

Property Damage

If you can’t prove you aren’t at fault, the driver you hit might start intimidating you into paying for the damages their vehicle sustained in the crash. They might send you financial notices later if they don’t ask you at the scene. However, they aren’t the only “entities” that may bill you.

Hitting posts, wrecking roadblocks, or crashing into hydrants makes you liable for property damage. Whose property? Government property. You now have surging medical bills and various other liabilities.

Motorcycle Fatalities

No matter how intimidating those all sound, nothing prepares you for deadly motorcycle crashes. Left-turn motorcycle accidents are typically at slower speeds. However, fatal motorcycle accidents can happen at a minimal velocity in the blink of an eye. A left-turn accident may warrant jail time, especially if the negligent party or parties was or were on their cell phones, drunk, or impaired.

According to many articles about motorcycle accidents (blog posts), a drunk or impaired driver is one of the leading causes of any motorcycle collision. Driving while impaired lessens critical thinking during the smallest window of reaction time.

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident by a drunk driver, don’t forget to ensure a breathalyzer test is conducted on the scene. However, breathalyzers are standard in any accident. If your loved one was in a fatal accident, don’t forget to ask for the full police report that indicates the negligent party’s blood alcohol level. It should help convict the driver and secure a life insurance payout.

What to Do in Motorcycle Accidents?

Remember, motorcycles are a tricky subject. There is a nationwide stigma against motorcyclists, their habits on the road, and how they put themselves at risk each time their wheels hit the pavement. These are all myths and perpetuate the stigma against motorcycles.

Everyone sharing highways, urban roadways, and smaller streets deserves the same respect and courtesy as each other. However, it would be best if you prepared yourself for these instances.

Preparation & Prevention of a Motorcycle Accident

Safety regulations are in place for road users. They are not laws you must abide by to pledge your allegiance. Obeying these traffic rules will keep you from sustaining injuries or causing any. Left-turn motorcycle accidents are some of the easiest to avoid by stopping, looking, and listening. It’s as easy as raising your level of awareness and respecting surrounding traffic. You can almost ensure you never experience getting involved in a left-turn mishap unless negligence or malicious intent is involved.

In the Moment

DO NOT LOSE FOCUS. You only have precious milliseconds to react to what’s happening around you. Now is not the time to lose your head. Remember these two words: BRAKE and BRACEHit your REAR BRAKES. They offer more stable and safer panic controls than those in front. After pulling on the brakes, brace yourself for impact. Tuck your head into your chest and pull your knees up. Do not tense up; keep yourself loose and flexible in whatever direction you are thrown. Resistance and tension only heighten the risks of injuries.


An accident at an intersection is complicated, with more traffic going in various directions. However, do not attempt to get up too quickly. Keep yourself in a neutral position and listen to your body. Move slowly and lowly. Don’t jump up to duck out of traffic. If you are lucky enough to be conscious, sustaining only minor injuries, you should get all the necessary details: phone a loved one and the local police. Seek medical attention immediately.

How to Seek Compensation?

Devil’s in the details, so ensure you get the other party’s license plate, contact information, name, and address. Ask for help to collect witness statements and any dash-cam footage. You will need backing documents to file claims. Insurance companies are some of the hardest trees to bark up, but the right lawyers will know how to get you what you are owed.

The Kiley Law Group: Personal Injury Attorneys

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, don’t wait for the guilty party to come forward or expect your insurance to cover all medical costs. You need professional help to secure everything you are owed. Trust only the best.

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