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How motorcyclists can avoid the dangers of left turns

There is nothing quite like packing up your motorcycle and getting away from it all. Being on the open road on a machine that is so responsive to your movements puts you in a state of Zen. Control of the bike is yours, but of course, you can't control for other's negligence.

According to the Department of Transportation, approximately 1 in 36 people in the U.S. owns a motorcycle. With so many motorcycles on the road, especially in the summer months, now is a great time to talk about one of a rider's greatest threats: left turns.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, thirty-six percent of motorcycle fatalities involve a vehicle making a left turn in front of a motorcycle.

Here are four reasons why left turns are dangerous:

  1. A motor vehicle is crossing a lane of traffic
  2. Complex split-second decision making
  3. Acceleration of cars trying to make a green light
  4. Location of impact

Of course, all of this is made more dangerous for the less protected motorcyclist who has less impact protection. For this reason, motorcyclists must take extra precautions to protect themselves from other drivers.

Tips for making safer left turns:

  • According to Motorcycle-Central, always come to a complete stop. Reduce your urge to hurry through, and double-check for oncoming traffic.
  • The location of certain left turns can be more dangerous than others. Unless you're absolutely certain that the lane is clear, it's safer to wait. Curving roads or objects blocking visibility are extremely dangerous.

Tips for crossing intersections where left turns can be made:

  • Be prepared for the resulting split-second decision of the car attempting a left turn. Be ready to hit the brakes, gas, horn, or swerve.
  • Don't make assumptions. Just because you have a green light doesn't mean drivers without will follow the traffic laws.
  • Scan the roads and cover your brakes when coming up on intersections. It's a great practice with so many distracted drivers on the road.

Following these simple tips will increase your odds, giving you more time doing what you love: ride.

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