Davidson County is the most dangerous county in Tennessee in which to ride a motorcycle. At least that’s what the statistics tell us. Between 2013 and 2016, there were more motorcycle crashes in Davidson County than other county in the state, including 369 accidents in 2016, the most recent year in which statistics are available. That’s an average of more than one wreck per day.
One of the most recent motorcycle accidents in the county was a fatal hit-and-run that took place at approximately 2:30 am on February 14 at the intersection of Gallatin Pike and Anderson Lane in Madison. In that incident, a 59-year-old male from Bethpage was killed when the driver of a pickup truck, van or SUV failed to yield and the victim’s Harley-Davidson collided with the automobile as it was making a left hand turn. The victim was transported to Skyline Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Left Turn Motorcycle Accidents
As it happens, the above accident scenario is exceedingly common. In fact, according to the Hurt Report, a famous motorcycle safety study conducted in a large metropolitan area, “the most frequent accident configuration is the motorcycle proceeding straight, then the automobile makes a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.”
But many of the other findings from the Hurt Report are illustrative as well:
“The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominant cause of motorcycle accidents,” and “intersections are the most likely place for [a] motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls.”
In addition, “conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in multiple vehicle accidents,” and “the typical motorcycle accident allows the motorcyclist less than two seconds to complete all collision avoidance action.”
Avoiding Left Turn Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle riders should always practice defensive driving, but operators should be especially cautious when approaching intersections. It’s prudent to slow down when you approach any intersection, and to assume that oncoming cars will turn left in front of you, even if they are not signaling their intention to turn.
Of course, it’s imperative to follow basic motorcycle safety tips, some of which are common sense and others of which are the law.
First and foremost, always wear a helmet, as well as protective clothing like eye protection, long pants, long sleeved shirt or jacket, and full-fingered gloves.
In Tennessee, the motorcycle helmet law (TCA section 55-9-302) requires that “all motorcycle operators and passengers are required to wear a helmet. Helmets must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards and be certified by the Department of Transportation.”
In addition, make sure your headlight is in proper working order and wear bright clothing.
According to the Hurt Report’s findings, “accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps, [as well as] the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.” Also, be especially cautious in inclement weather, as automobile drivers are more likely to lose sight of motorcyclists in bad weather.
Finally, know your limits and get proper training. The Tennessee Department of Safety offers a motorcycle rider training program, which includes two intensive courses. Completion of either course entitles the certificate holder to an insurance premium discount.
Following is a list of Tennessee Rider Education locations. For additional information on the safe, legal operation of a motorcycle in the Volunteer State, consult the Tennessee Motorcycle Operator Manual, which includes information on motorcycle license requirements.
If You Have Been Involved in a Motorcycle Accident
If you have any questions about motorcycle safety or you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash, call Raybin & Weissman at (615) 256-6666 or contact us online. We’re Nashville’s motorcycle accident lawyers and over the years we have worked with countless motorcycle accident victims in Middle Tennessee, helping them to obtain compensation and get their lives back on track. No matter the extent of your injuries, our personal injury lawyers will work diligently to negotiate a favorable settlement or prove your case in court. We will fight to get you justice.