Avoiding Motorcycle Crashes at Intersections

At that intersection, what can oncoming traffic see?

When approaching an intersection are you aware of your position behind traffic – from the perspective of oncoming traffic? You have seen many intersection crashes that typically are a result of a left-turner make a bad decision. We see this all the time. An impatient driver, waiting anxiously at their left turn lane rolling into the middle of the intersection anticipating that one opportunity to rip through traffic to take the left.

What can oncoming traffic see? Can they see you approaching?

The danger for motorcyclists is we are harder to see – especially when that impatient left-turner is focusing on what they perceive as empty space. Here’s how it can play out badly for motorcyclists.

You’re approaching an intersection in the middle or right lane – following behind a couple of cars. Behind you – nothing. There’s that impatient left-turner who sees it – a clear path in which to take their left turn. They are focusing on the empty space behind you and don’t see you because you’re obscured by the cars you’re following. Before you know it, the left-turner is right in front of you – bam!

As motorcyclists we need to be aware of where we are in respect to that oncoming traffic. In the case above we can do one of two things – when we see that there’s an impatient left-turner. We could (1) slow down so the left-turner sees you and realizes they don’t have room to turn or (2) accelerate to a position where you get through the intersect before the left-turner plows into you. Check out the animation below.

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