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Watch out for the Left Cross

I first posted this video here in September 2010, soon after the incident happened. I post it again because this is one of the most common causes of serious injury and death to both cyclists and motorcyclists. The more people made aware of this, the better.

University of Iowa football player Josh Koeppel miraculously escaped serious injury when the driver of a pickup truck made a left turn in front of him at an intersection.

Koepple’s motorcycle slammed into the front of the truck, and he was thrown into the air, landing on his side in the roadway. It appears in the video that he never made bodily contact with the truck which was fortunate.

The driver of the white pickup truck does not even slow as he makes the left turn, and will no doubt plead that he didn’t even see the motorcycle and rider.

While not excusing this act of gross negligence, it is probably true the driver didn’t see the approaching motorcycle. Watch the video a second time and you will notice a black car, followed by a light colored car waiting to turn left in the opposite direction.

Josh Koeppel was probably hidden from view behind these vehicles as he and the white truck approached the intersection, giving the driver the impression the road was clear, which is why he doesn’t even slow.

Once he starts the turn he is now looking in the direction he is traveling, no longer looking for oncoming traffic.

It behooves the cyclist or motorcyclist to look for vehicles in the center lane making a left turn. (A right turn in the UK.) Assume the driver has NOT seen you, rather than assume he has.  


Click here to watch a larger version on YouTube. 

I wrote about this very scenario previously 

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Reader Comments (4)

i witnessed a similar "left-cross" crash recently when a county sheriff' took an aggressive left turn that cut across the centre line over into the right side of the crossing road and struck the cyclist next to me as we were waiting at the stop bar. The officer wasn't trying to beat any oncoming traffic (there was none) and had no good reason for cutting the turn so sharply.
This is not an uncommon occurrence at intersections, and probably as common a cause of serious crashes as the typical "left cross" into oncoming traffic.

October 15, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermike w.

Yeah, I know about that. Broken Humorous (plate and 7 screws), fractured scapula, broken rib with punctured lung, road rash and permanent damage to my left eye. Bent tt and dt with the fork with every component bent, 1972 Motobecane Le Champion. $62K in medical in 2009. Uninsured motorist who disappeared (Sheriff couldn't find her). Left arm with broken humorous still growing nerves.

October 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSJX426

Another possible cause of the accident- from the shadows cast, it appears the sun is BEHIND the motorcyclist. That would render the motorcycle invisible.

From the video, it seems the pickup truck driver didn't even hesitate just prior to executing the turn, and it didn't appear they tried to speed up and "beat" the oncoming motorcycle. Both lead me to believe they didn't "see" the motorcycle but that doesn't make me think they were any less responsible for the accident.

The motorcycle absorbed the impact, sparing Josh a lot of injury, which is made more important since he wasn't wearing a helmet.

October 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeter W. Polack

SMIDSY accidents (Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You) aka left turnes are all too common on motos and can be prevented (for the most part) with some head's up riding: Step 1 horizontal movement aka 'the drunk cyclist's weave.' Movement draws the eye. That's how we're built as a species. If you weave side-to-side in your lane, your light(s) will stand out more from the background 'noise' that the left-turner's eyes are filtering out.

2. Lights in a triangle like a train's. Give's the oncoming driver a sense of scale and speed as well as being something out of the ordinary to draw attention to you. The bigger the triangle the better.

3. Where you ride in the lane and in traffic: IOW make sure you stand out. Don't 'hide' behind a car then expect someone to see you. Pay attention to your surroundings and don't zone out.

4. Slow down if needed and certainly cover the brakes. Just like on a bicycle, the front brake does appx 70% of your braking

5. If someone DOES turn in front of you, aim where they were. They should be gone by the time you get there. Hopefully. If not, then it'll be a less extreme angle that you're hitting them at than straight on and over the hood/bonnet

There's more, but I'll stop there. Cyclists are in a slightly different position because we can't stand out as much. Most of the above still applies, just in slightly different manners.

October 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGummee!

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