Hazards of left-turning vehicles pose problems for motorcyclists

Simply because of the nature of their size, motorcycles have always been more dangerous than passenger vehicles. They are smaller and easily missed. As a result, a big cause of motorcycle accidents today is due to vehicles making left-turns.

Understanding left-turn driving hazards

Left-turn accidents, as they are often referred to, frequently occur at intersections. A typical situation involves a driver in a vehicle waiting to turn-left. The light turns green and the driver yields to traffic approaching from the opposite direction. When no cars are present and the driver feels that it’s safe, he or she proceeds to turn left. However, because motorcycles are hard to see, the vehicle often pulls out in front of the bike causing a collision.

The instance also happens when the driver of a vehicle is turning left out of a driveway. The driver looks for cars coming from the left before turning out into the roadway. Again, the motorcycle is approaching, is missed due to its shear small size, and collides with the vehicle.

The worsening problem

The problem seems to be getting worse. Vehicles and SUVs today are larger than they’ve ever been. Further, the distracted driving epidemic that’s occurring within the U.S. isn’t helping. Too many drivers are focusing on texting or using GPS devices then paying attention to the road in front of them.

Additionally, during summer months, many more motorcycles are taking to the streets, increasing the risk of more accidents.

IDOT initiatives to reduce motorcycle accidents

Fortunately, the state of Illinois is doing its part to help reduce motorcycle accidents.

In 1976, the Cycle Rider Safety Training Program, an initiative that offers free training classes for motorcycles to help reduce accidents, was launched and still continues today.

Additionally, since 1983, the Illinois Department of Transportation, or IDOT, has labeled the month of May as Motorcycle Awareness Month to help bring attention to riders, drivers and the public at large about motorcycle consciousness and safety.

In 2008, the state-along with many other areas of the country-initiated the “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaign to show the importance of other drivers to remain vigilant of motorcycles and their equal rights on the roadways.

Further, in 2011, Illinois introduced “Gear Up – Ride Smart” to encourage riders to perform proper maintenance on their bikes and wear protective safety gear while riding.

All state efforts are geared toward decreasing motorcycle accidents. However, in the wake of the green movements and heightened gas prices these collisions are likely to rise. Continued public awareness and campaigns about motorcycle safety such as these will be needed.