Tuesday afternoon, the victim of a motorcycle accident was taken to a hospital after being hit by a pickup truck on River Road in St. George. According to an article on St. George Utah’s website, at roughly 4:45 p.m., the St. George Police Department responded to the collision near 2450 South. Reports say the motorcycle was heading north on River Road when a truck that was making a left turn hit the motorcyclist. The driver “believed the intersection to be clear,” according to St. George Police officer Andy Mickelson.
As the truck went through the intersection, it clipped the back end of the motorcycle and caused the motorcycle driver to fall. The rider was taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center in an ambulance. The road was blocked off in the south intersection as the police officers investigated the crash. The roadways were reopened around 5:20 p.m. The driver of the truck was cited for failing to yield on a left turn.
Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence for motorcycle riders. According to statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA), in 2016, there were 2,625 two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle. In around 41 percent of these accidents (1,081), the other vehicles were turning left while the motorcycle was continuing straight through the intersection, passing, or overtaking other cars. This demonstrates the common problem with this type of accident.
One might wonder, why are motorcycle accidents so prevalent? According to Nolo’s website, cars making a left-hand turn is the “single most dangerous situation” for motorcycles. The problem is not isolated to only motorcycles; this is relatively common between two cars as well. One reason Nolo cites for why this is so common is the smaller size of a motorcycle makes it less visible for the turning vehicle. The driver of a car is not expecting to see a motorcycle coming through the intersection.
As was the case with this accident, the driver that hits the person while they were turning left will be at-fault for the crash, because, to turn left in an intersection, you must yield to oncoming traffic. The only way this might not be the case is if the motorcycle was speeding through the intersection or was in the wrong lane.
Motorcycle accidents are complex. This type of accident is a convergence of multiple events including human decisions, vehicles, and the environment. As the NHTSA points out, “while there is no ‘typical’ motorcycle crash, what is ‘typical’ is that a motorcycle crash is that a motorcycle crash is a violent event.” Around 80 percent of reported motorcycle accidents result in some kind of injury or death. Because of these dangers, there are two recommendations we give to keep motorcyclists safe on the road.
Watch for Motorcycles. Drivers need to be very careful when checking an intersection. Check twice! Driving tests website recommends looking twice for approaching motorcycles. Sometimes, if there is a glare or other obstruction, they can be easily missed. A fender bender doesn’t exist for motorcycle riders. They are left exposed. For this reason, you have to be extra careful! Check specifically for a motorcycle. Understanding that an intersection is a danger zone can help a driver be safer. Proceed slowly when passing through the intersection.
Motorcyclists Should Wear a Helmet. One of the easiest ways to prevent serious injury to the head, face, and brain is by wearing a helmet. If you ride a motorcycle, seriously consider using a helmet. A Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System study showed that motorcycle helmets are 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries and that those who did not wear a helmet were three times more likely to suffer brain injuries than those wearing a helmet.
Here at The Advocates Law Firm, we want to help you stay safe. We have worked with thousands of people whose lives have been significantly altered by a motorcycle accident. Don’t let this happen to you. If you have any specific questions about your motorcycle accident, contact us. We offer free consultations and can help answer any questions you may have.