Intersection Safety

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly half of all motorcycle accidents occur at traffic intersections. Data also shows an estimated three motorcyclist deaths per day due to multi-vehicle accidents at intersections. The majority of these accidents involve a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle such as a car or truck.

In many cases, these accidents are caused by fault from the drivers of passenger vehicles. A number of motorcycle intersection crashes occur due to the failure of other drivers to see or yield to motorcyclists. To prevent being involved in a motorcycle accident, motorcyclists and passenger vehicle drivers are urged to practice intersection safety.

Intersection Accident Statistics

A 2009 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute analyzed data from fatal motorcycle crashes involving two vehicles. The data showed that 42 percent of these accidents occurred when a vehicle turned left in front of the motorcyclist. In these cases, the motorcyclist was driving straight, overtaking, or passing the vehicle when the collision occurred.

The NHTSA analyzed data for two-vehicle crashes in 2005. The findings revealed that the majority of intersection crashes occurred at non-interstate intersections. This means that special attention should be paid to intersection safety while approaching intersections that are off of highways.

Intersection Safety Tips

Motorcyclists and other drivers should exercise special caution at intersections. All drivers are recommended to look both ways twice before driving through an intersection. Instead of a cursory glance, drivers should pay careful attention to approaching vehicles. Additionally, motorcyclists should drive defensively. Motorcyclists who assume that they are not visible to other drivers may be more likely to practice intersection safety and avoid accidents.

Other intersection safety tips for motorcyclists include:

  • Anticipating that drivers who are turning or backing out of driveways may not see the motorcycle
  • Paying special attention to vehicles that may unexpectedly pull out from side streets and driveways
  • Slowing down when vision is obscured by buildings, shrubbery, parked vehicles, and other obstructions of a clear path
  • Avoiding driving in a vehicle’s blind spots to ensure that the motorcycle remains visible at all times
  • Avoiding riding between vehicles at intersections, which significantly increases the risk of a motorcycle accident
  • Allowing passenger vehicles to be the first to pull up to an intersection, as these vehicles have higher visibility
  • Wearing bright colors such as yellow, white, or neons to increase visibility at intersections and on the road in general


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“Intersection Safety.” U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Web. 26 Jul 2013. <>.

“Motorcycle Safety.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, n.d. Web. 26 Jul 2013. <>.

“Rural Intersection Safety.” U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Web. 26 Jul 2013. <>.

“Safety Tips for Motorcycles.” Share the Road Safely. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Web. 26 Jul 2013. <>.