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 Motorcycle Safety
 Motorcycle Accident Reports - WITH COMMENTS
 Motorcycle vs. right-turning vehicle
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Advanced Member
530 Posts

Central Coast, CA



Posted - 03/14/2012 :  1:43 PM                       Like
We often hear about crashes between motorcycles and left-turning vehicles, either oncoming or from a cross-street. But a right-turning vehicle pulling out from the right is also a threat, one we may not as quickly identify and react to. That was the situation in a Florida fatality earlier this week.

The rider was traveling westbound approaching a cross street on the right (link to Google street view) when a driver who had come to a stop pulled out and turned right. She then merged left to reach the left-turn lane 200 yards ahead and collided with the motorcycle.

On approach, we have the same visibility problem with a right-turner as with a left-turner: We may not be seen due to terrain, other vehicles, speed, or simple driver negligence. But after the vehicle begins to turn, we have a more difficult problem because the driver's attention is in the opposite direction. A driver who didn't see the motorcycle when beginning to turn suddenly becomes a serious threat. If his turn is sloppy, he could swing wide into our lane. If he needs to merge left, it may be a hasty move, without much time to check his mirror and blind spot for interfering traffic.

My rule of thumb is never to be alongside a vehicle as it makes a right turn. I don't assume either that I've been seen or that the driver will see me if he needs to merge left. Depending on speed and trajectory, I'll either accelerate and move ahead of the vehicle before it can reach me or roll-off and let the situation stabilize before passing, if that is even necessary.

Edited by - DataDan on 03/14/2012 1:50 PM

Advanced Member
6884 Posts

Pleasanton, CA


990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 03/14/2012 :  4:28 PM
One of my pet peeves is drivers making a right turn on red who either don't come close to actually stopping before making the turn, or pretty much stop, look towards me and appear to see me coming, then go ahead and make the turn anyway, right into my path so that I need to slow to avoid them. I always have plenty of notice that they're coming, so they are easy to avoid, but it's still annoying.

My general rule while riding is that I'm looking for ANYONE who has a chance to cross paths with me and try to avoid them. Sometimes it's hard to avoid the urge to honk at these guys who invade my space, but the safest thing to do is just make sure that you avoid them. And normally that is easy enough to do if you're paying attention.

Both of these Florida fatal accidents appear to me to have been easily preventable.

And good reminder to avoid being next to anybody making a right turn at any point during their turn. It's interesting how rare close calls are when you follow a few simple rules like that when riding.
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Male Starting Member
6 Posts

Centerton, AR


Vulcan 900

Posted - 04/04/2012 :  7:40 PM
I almost had this happen to me on Monday. The driver started pulling forward and I started braking and tooting my horn. I would have stopped in time even if he had kept going, but it would have been closer than I liked.

I've been reading this forum since before I bought my bike two years ago and it has helped me stay alive often.
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