Failure to yield right of way while making a U-turn is being named as the cause of a crash between a Jeep and a motorcycle that left the motorcyclist dead in Wilmington, North Carolina (NC). The deadly collision occurred in the Monkey Junction community on the evening of April 16, 2016.
According to NC Highway Patrol investigators, the teenaged driver of the Jeep was attempting to reach Riggs Trail from Carolina Beach Road. The driver claimed he never saw the man on the motorcycle, who was unable to stop or change lanes in time to avoid slamming into the larger vehicle. The impact ejected the rider from his bike, inflicting critical injuries that he died from the following day in a Wilmington hospital.
The Jeep's driver has been charged to failure to yield and for causing a death while operating a motor vehicle. My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I cannot speculate on whether he will be sentenced for either offense. We can surmise, however, that the motorcyclist need not have suffered any harm had the teen driving the Jeep exercised more care and caution.
Anyone making a U-turn has a high legal duty to take the time necessary to ensure that no other cars, trucks or motorcycles are approaching. Completing the maneuver takes considerable time, especially since the move often transitions into a three-point turn rather than a simple reversal of direction. While it is true that motorcycles can be difficult to spot, drivers must make every effort to do so. As this tragedy near Wilmington illustrates, being negligent in that duty can prove fatal.