Intersection Motorcycle Accidents

January 2, 2024
By Michael Padway

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Outside of fast-moving highways, busy intersections are one of the most dangerous places for motorcycle riders. In fact, according to crash data from the NHTSA 51% of fatal motorcycle accidents occur at intersections.

What causes motorcycle accidents in intersections?

In order to avoid accidents at intersections, it’s helpful to know what causes them in the first place. The common causes of intersection accidents include:

  • Failure to yield while making a turn
  • Speeding
  • Red light runners
  • Obstructions such as other vehicles, buildings or plants that obscure front or side view
  • Drivers who don’t see a stopped motorcycle and cause a rear-end collision
  • Distracted or impaired driving
  • Weather conditions that result in poor visibility or loss of control

How to avoid motorcycle accidents at intersections

While we can’t control the actions of other drivers, motorcycle riders can take proactive steps to minimize the chances of incurring an accident at intersections.

  1. Brake early and well in advance
    • Reduce speed when approaching an intersection, despite having a green light.
    • Start braking early to reduce the possibility of skidding or a rear-end collision from the vehicle behind. 
  2. Learn to anticipate other drivers
    • Make it a habit to look both ways before crossing an intersection.
    • Keep an eye out for turn signals, as well as the direction of the tires and the driver’s head, to know where he intends to go.
    • Note obstructions that may blind you from seeing around the corner, such as buildings and shrubs. If you can’t see them, the other motorist can’t see you either.
  3. Increase your visibility
    • Always drive with DRL on, even in bright daylight hours.
    • Make sure your riding gear has reflective stripes and high-visibility aids.
    • Drive slowly and cautiously during low-visibility conditions, or better yet put off riding in inclement weather unless it’s really necessary.
  4. Practice defensive driving
    • Don’t stay in vehicles’ blind spots.
    • Avoid lane splitting in intersections.
    • When the light turns green, make sure the intersection is clear before goosing the throttle

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What to do in case of an accident at an intersection

Despite your best efforts and careful road discipline, an accident can still occur at busy intersections. If this happens:

  1. Check your injuries before anything else, and attend to the most serious ones first.
  2. Document the crash scene before moving your bike. These include your injuries, the bike’s position, debris trail, and the position of the other vehicle.
  3. If you don’t have a dashcam, gather witnesses. A busy thoroughfare will almost always have one, whether it’s other motorists or a crossing pedestrian. Get their names and contact information, and give them a ring on the spot so they can save yours.
  4. Document factors that may help explain the accident. These can be the state of the other driver, an ignored stop sign or stoplight, or even corner obstructions like construction work or overgrown shrubbery.
  5. Seek legal representation. A dedicated motorcycle accident lawyer can help you seek liabilities, claim compensation for personal injuries or property damage, or challenge citations.  

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Michael Padway

Michael Padway uses his expertise in personal injury and motorcycle accidents to represent a broad spectrum of clients dealing with life-changing and permanent injuries for the first time. His offices are located at 235 Montgomery St., Ste 668, San Francisco, CA 94104 and at 3140 Chapman St. Oakland, CA 94601. For more information, please call (800) 928-1511.

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