Fatal Greensboro Crash Highlights Risk From a Bad Merge | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

A crash between a car and a motorcycle in Greensboro, North Carolina (NC), left the motorcyclist dead and the driver hospitalized. The fatal collision happened at around 7 am on April 28, 2018, when the driver attempted to merge onto Cone Boulevard from U.S. 29.



Local police did not immediately issue charges against the driver and have asked anyone who witnessed the deadly wreck to share their information by calling (336) 373-1000. As Carolina wrongful death attorneys who have helped many motorcycle riders hit and hurt by negligent or reckless drivers, however, we see that this crash has all the hallmarks of a failure to yield right of way.

As explained in section 20-155(a) of the North Carolina General Statutes, “When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.” Following this rule at the interchange of U.S. 29 and Cone Boulevard would require the driver of the car to wait to merge until the motorcycle rider had passed the highway off ramp.

Drivers often fail to see and yield to motorcycle riders when changing lanes or merging. This can be partly explained by the difficulty of spotting small two-wheeled vehicles and accurately judging motorcycles’ speed and distance. Those facts do not excuse drivers. Rather, they place additional responsibilities on drivers to check and recheck for motorcycles and to exercise caution before moving over.

Any error by a driver in the vicinity of a motorcycle usually ends badly for the motorcyclist. As my Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I have noted elsewhere on or website, “More than 80 percent of motorcycle accidents cause injury or death, compared with other types of motor vehicle accidents where injury or death occur in 20 percent of crashes.” Further, “The NHTSA has concluded that most motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers and not the person driving the motorcycle.”

Sharing the road safely with motorcycles becomes especially important during the spring and summer. According to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, 3.763 crashes involving motorcycle riders occurred in the state during 2016. The incidence of those wrecks spiked to more than 300 in March of that year and remained at about 400 per month through October. This means warm weather must make drivers more aware of their responsibilities around motorcycles.