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Another biker hazard: drivers who turn left in front of them

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2022 | Motorcycle |

The ideal motorcycle weather may be behind us, but some Oklahoma bikers continue to venture out and explore the highways, terrain and landmarks of this lovely state.

Consider the upcoming annual “Ride to Remember” on Nov. 6 in Enid – northwest of Oklahoma City – to honor Vietnam veterans. A number of bikers are expected, but this group has not forgotten the potential dangers they face from motor vehicle drivers. One of the most notable hazards is when a driver turns in front of a motorcyclist.

Failing to see motorcyclists, misjudging distances

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 40% of U.S. fatal two-vehicle crashes in 2020 that involved a motorcycle and another vehicle occurred when the vehicle driver turned left in front of a bike. Such avoidable crashes happened in instances where the motorcycle was traveling straight, passing or overtaking the other vehicles.

Often, these drivers have excuses that ring hollowly related to tragedies that will resonate a long, long time. Those excuses include that they did not see the motorcyclist, they misjudged the speed of the motorcycle as well as the distance between their vehicles.

According to the NHTSA, Oklahoma recorded 63 of the country’s 5,549 motorcyclist fatalities in 2020. Using the ratio from the national statistics, one could conceivably conclude that 13 of Oklahoma’s motorcyclist fatalities may have occurred when a driver turned left in front of the motorcycle.

Aware of the surroundings

Remaining alert about any potential road danger may save the lives of motorcyclists and their passengers. Bikers learn the importance of being aware of their surroundings, and they must understand the dangers when a car, pickup, SUV or large truck makes a left turn in front of them. Safe travels are essential.