A negligent left turn by a car’s driver in Norfolk, Virginia (VA), led to a crash that sent a motorcycle rider to the hospital with critical injuries. The two-vehicle collision happened at around 7:20 am on September 25, 2017, near the intersection of Granby Street and Brackenridge Avenue.
Based on information provided by Norfolk police, WAVY-TV 10 reported that “a Honda sedan going north on Granby tried to make a left turn, pulled into oncoming traffic and was hit by a motorcycle going south on Granby.” The impact ejected the rider from his motorcycle, and he was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in critical condition.
Law enforcement officials announced their intention to charge the car’s driver in relation to the wreck, but they did not specify what traffic violations the driver may have committed. One possible charge is failure to yield right of way while turning left. Section 46.2-825 of the Virginia Code states,
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. At intersections controlled by traffic lights with separate left-turn signals, any vehicle making a left turn when so indicated by the signal shall have the right-of-way over all other vehicles approaching the intersection.
Heeding the phrase “so close as to constitute a hazard” is particularly important when a driver turning left must determine when to yield to oncoming traffic. The Virginia Driver’s Manual published by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles offers only general advice about looking in all directions and doublechecking for pedestrians and bicycles to ensure “the way is clear.” Not mentioned is how difficult it often is to correctly judge the distance and speed of motorcycles.
A best practice my Virginia Beach-based personal injury law firm colleagues and I have inferred from taking the cases of many motorcycle riders hurt in crashes like this one on Granby Street in Norfolk is to wait for all motorcycles to clear an intersection. Another important safe-driving practice is to look right, look left, look right, look left and look right one last time before starting a left-hand turn.
Motorcycle riders have little physical protection from injuries in crashes, so drivers must share the road cautiously and respectfully. Even minor errors in judgment can lead to deadly and near-fatal wrecks.