It’s not uncommon for drivers to miss a turn or suddenly remember they need to turn around to go to a different location. Sometimes a U-turn is the quickest way to change direction. U-turns are legal most of the time, but they are not always executed safely, making them dangerous.
The driver responsible for a U-turn motorcycle accident depends on the situation. Most of the time it’s the driver who made the U-turn, but certain situations can relieve the motorist or motorcyclist who made the U-turn. If you suffered injuries in a U-turn motorcycle accident, it’s in your best interest to consult an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss your legal options. Until you have the chance to meet with an attorney, this guide takes a closer look at the legality of U-turns, their dangers, and who is at fault in a U-turn motorcycle accident.
Where U-Turns Are Typically Legal
Each state has slightly different laws, but most permit U-turns under the following situations:
- Motorcyclists and drivers in passenger vehicles can make a U-turn in an intersection if they can safely complete the turn and the intersection is absent of “No U-Turn” signs.
- Bikers and motorists can make U-turns in residential areas as long as there is no oncoming traffic. Some states require that a stoplight protects the driver from oncoming traffic.
- U-turns are allowed at intersections with a green light as long as there are no signs prohibiting the maneuver.
- U-turns are allowed on divided highways when a specific U-turn opening is present.
Ultimately, a biker or motorist must be able to make a safe U-turn for it to be legal. Your lawyer can investigate your accident to find out whether you or the other driver made an illegal U-turn. However, even if a U-turn is legal, it does not necessarily mean it was safe. Legal but unsafe U-turns are just as dangerous as illegal U-turns.
Where U-Turns Are Typically Illegal
Although there are many places where drivers and motorcyclists can make a safe and legal U-turn, some locations are never safe or legal to make a U-turn. They include:
- Anywhere there is a “No U-Turn” sign
- Railroad tracks
- Divided highways without a turnaround
- When oncoming traffic is present
- Near fire stations
- When a U-turn interferes with other traffic
Those who make illegal U-turns are almost always at fault if a U-turn motorcycle accident occurs.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents That Occur After U-turns
An improper U-turn leads to multiple types of motorcycle accidents, including:
- A T-bone accident occurs when a driver makes a U-turn and steers into a motorcycle or vice versa.
- A sideswipe accident occurs when the biker or motorist making a U-turn collides with a motorcycle or car in the lane next to them because they make the U-turn too tight.
- A rear-end accident occurs when the driver or biker making a U-turn stops quickly after the maneuver, causing the vehicle or motorcycle behind them to hit the rear of their bike or vehicle.
- A head-on collision occurs when an improper U-turn happens at an intersection and one of the vehicles does not comply with a red light or stop sign.
The type of accident gives investigators clues as to who is at fault for a U-turn motorcycle accident.
Determining Fault in a U-Turn Motorcycle Accident
Although the driver or biker making a U-turn is often at fault for an accident, this is not always the case. Law enforcement and other investigators look at several factors to determine fault and financial liability for damages. They include:
- Was the U-turn legal?
- Was the U-turn safe?
- Did the non-turning motorcyclist or driver engage in other risky or illegal maneuvers?
A non-turning motorcyclist or motorist can be at fault for a U-turn motorcycle accident if they engaged in risky, often illegal, driving behaviors, such as:
- Failing to yield
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
Determining fault after a U-turn motorcycle accident can be tricky because non-turning bikers and drivers do not always understand how to react to a turning bike or car and might pass a driver on their right, causing an accident. Turning bikers and drivers aren’t always aware of where it’s safe to make a U-turn if no signs are present.
Get the Legal Help You Need From Feller & Wendt After a U-Turn Motorcycle Accident
Sometimes, determining fault in a U-turn motorcycle accident is straightforward; other times it takes some serious investigation to know who to blame. The confusion is compounded when insurance companies deny claims because they don’t understand the situation or hope the claimant misunderstands the law. The best way to recover damages after a U-turn motorcycle accident and injuries is to hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.
The skilled legal team at Feller & Wendt knows how to deal with insurance companies and understands how to apply the law to your case. Contact us online or at (801) 499-5060 to discuss the details of your case and learn about your legal options during a free consultation.