A Jeep driver’s negligent left turn created a deadly situation for a motorcycle rider in Amelia County, Virginia (VA). On the morning of January 20, 2018. The fatal collision happened in the 16100 block of Goodes Bridge Road in the town of Amelia Court House just before 11:30 am.
State Police investigators who responded to the wreck southwest of Richmond told reporters that the man driving the Jeep cut off the motorcyclist while attempting to turn left into a parking lot. The resulting collision ejected the rider from his bike, and he died from his injuries before he could be transported from the scene for treatment. Multiple news outlets identified the motorcycle rider who lost his life as 53-year-old Charles Redman.
Troopers filed an initial charge of failing to yield right of way while turning left against the Jeep driver. The relevant state statute, section 46.2-825 of the Virginia code, reads:
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.
As Virginia personal injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys who have handled many cases involving motorcyclists, my law firm colleagues and I know that drivers often have trouble judging the distance and speed of motorcycles. The safest thing a turning driver can do when he or she sees a motorcycle approaching from the opposite direction is wait until the bike passes to enter an intersection or cross the opposing lanes.
When a driver does act impatiently, the results are often tragic. During 2015, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles recorded 2,061 crashes involving motorcycles in the state. Those wrecks left 1,776 riders injured and another 70 riders dead. For crashes in which specific errors by drivers could be identified, failure to yield was cited 24 times, and improper turn was cited 14 times.
We send our deepest condolences out to the friends and family members of the motorcycle rider who was killed on Goodes Bridge Road in Amelia County, We also take this opportunity to once more urge all drivers to watch for and yield to motorcycles when turning, merging or changing lanes.