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We are all taught during our driving lessons that a yellow light means, "Caution! Slow down!" But in reality, many motorists in and around Las Vegas understand a yellow light to mean, "Hurry up and get through the intersection before it turns red!" And sometimes, this misinterpretation can lead to a motor vehicle collision – which could be deadly.

That was the case yesterday when a motorcyclist lost his life in a crash in the southwest part of the valley. The 28-year old man was riding a 2003 Honda motorcycle south on South Jones Boulevard around 4pm Wednesday afternoon. As he entered the intersection with West Robindale Road, a northbound 2001 GMC Yukon tried to turn left from Jones to Robindale on a yellow light. As the SUV turned in front of the motorcycle, the 28-year old man slammed on his brakes but lost control of the bike. The impact ejected him from the Honda, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Based on the facts we know, it is unclear to what extent the sport utility vehicle driver was at fault in this motorcycle accident. While it’s true that the SUV was trying to turn left on a yellow light, we can infer that the motorcyclist also had a yellow light as he approached or entered the intersection. The only scenario where this wouldn’t be accurate would be if the SUV had a protected green arrow turn to yellow – in which case, the motorcyclist would have had a red light. Since this is not mentioned in the article, we can assume that both drivers had yellow lights.

Metro Police will have to conduct an investigation into the crash to determine liability – and the results of this probe will impact any wrongful death lawsuit that might be filed in the future by the motorcyclist’s family members.