A collision between a car and a motorcycle in Chesterfield County, Virginia (VA), on the morning of October 5, 2017, left the motorcycle rider dead. The car’s driver also suffered injuries in the crash at the intersection of Black Oak Road and Salem Church Road.
According to local police, the driver pulled out in front of the motorcyclist at around 6:30 am while attempting to turn left across Salem Church Road. The motorcycle rider died at the scene. Authorities did not immediately file charges, waiting for a full reconstruction and official statements from witnesses before doing so.
Depending on the evidence, the car’s driver could be cited for making an improper left turn or for reckless driving. Under section 46.2-825 of the Virginia Code, “The driver of a vehicle, intending to turn left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction if it is so close as to constitute a hazard.”
Failing to yield right of way while turning left can be considered reckless behavior when a driver does not stop fully at an intersection marked with a yield sign or stop sign. The driver entering the main road from Black Oak faced a stop sign.
Considering the time of day and the location of the deadly wreck in Chesterfield County, the driver may have had a difficult time seeing the motorcycle and judging its speed and distance. These are problems with all two-wheeled vehicles. Additionally, Black Oak joins Salem Church at a T-intersection bordered by tall trees. Both roads also go through curves close to where they meet up. Add in low light and the small size of the motorcycle, it would be understandable to hear the person behind the wheel of the car explain, “I never really saw the bike.”
Such an explanation cannot stand as a valid excuse for failing to yield to an oncoming motorcycle. Drivers must look harder for motorcyclists and exercise additional patience in waiting for bikers to clear an intersection. When drivers do not do those things, deadly wrecks like this one happen.
My Virginia wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our deepest condolences out to the Chesterfield County man who lost his life. We also urge all drivers to make every effort to share the road safely and respectfully with motorcycle riders, bicyclists, pedestrians and moped riders.