Although many people take left turns every day without issue, left turns can be a factor in many Maryland motorcycle accidents. Left turns have been a subject of research in recent years, including a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). In that study, the NHTSA found that in 22.2 percent of crashes studied, the critical pre-crash event was turning left. Turning right accounted for only 1.2 percent of crashes. One study carried out in New York City found that left turns were three times as likely to produce a serious injury or fatality compared to right turns, and left turns were twice as likely to cause a pedestrian or bicyclist fatality compared to right turns. According to that study, 108 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed by left-turning vehicles during a four-year period.
According to the senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, left turns are difficult because drivers have to make a number of decisions within a short period of time. Left turns are also particularly dangerous for pedestrians, since they have a walk light at the same time that a turning driver has a green light. Another researcher explained that the front piece of the car’s frame can obstruct pedestrians from view. The New York City study also found that the wide turn radius involved in left turns makes them more dangerous because it leads to higher speeds and exposes pedestrians more.
Left turns are also particularly dangerous for motorcyclists. According to statistics from the NHTSA, in 2013, there were 2,182 fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle. In 922 of these cases (42 percent), the other vehicle was making a left turn while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking another vehicle.