Florida Motorcycle Accidents: Statistics and Safety Tips
Injuries and deaths caused by motorcycle accidents in Florida are all too common. With Florida’s ideal climate for outdoor activities, motorists need to be more cautious and less distracted when driving in Florida and always be aware of motorcycles on the road. Speed is also a factor in many motorcycle accidents.
Florida leads the nation in motorcycle fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclist deaths occur 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, and 6 times as likely to be injured (based on 2014 fatal crash data).
Many motorcycle accidents occur when the driver of a car turns left into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. The driver’s excuse is usually, “I did not see the motorcycle.” The injuries in accidents of this type tend to be severe and often fatal. The United States Department of Transportation has conducted several experiments that added additional lighting to the front of motorcycles and none of the lighting treatments tested resulted in a statistically significant change to the visibility of the motorcycle. This means that riders are still their own best defense against distracted drivers. Constant vigilance is the key.
In addition to speed and distracted drivers, Florida’s lack of a mandatory helmet law may also contribute to the high fatality rate of bikers. States with stricter helmet laws have drastically lower motorcyclist deaths. Florida law actually requires riders to wear a helmet, but there is an exception if the rider is over 21 years of age and covered by an insurance policy that provides at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle. Protective eye gear, however, is required by law at all times.
Recently, the Miami Herald released a story of a Florida woman driving on I-95 who captured a video of a man who passed her on a motorcycle, while lying on his back with his bare feet up, using his feet to steer the motorcycle. He was not wearing a helmet or even a shirt. The Miami Herald decided to seek out Jones Law Group’s own Heath C. Murphy regarding motorcycle laws and safety. Murphy told the Herald that he could be cited for several violations, including having his feet up instead of positioned on each side of the bike. In any case, the video depicts a young man behaving in a reckless manner that is exposing himself and others on the road to a significant risk of injury. Most motorcycle riders are more cautious than this one, and take all necessary precautions to ensure their own safety.
The National Safety Council has some tips on motorcycle safety, including:
• Always wear a helmet; although it is not required by the state of Florida, it could mean the difference between life and death
• Be extremely aware of other drivers and position yourself where they can see you
• Watch out for debris and gravel on the road
• Be courteous, and don’t weave in and out of traffic lanes
• Keep your headlights on whenever driving to ensure increased visibility
• Assume that drivers are going to pull out in front of you
• Operate your bike at a safe speed
Most accidents involving a car and a motorcycle are caused by a driver who is distracted or simply not paying attention to surroundings. Whether you are in a motorcycle or other motor vehicle, you must be aware of all your surroundings, especially in areas such as Pinellas County, Florida, that tend to be congested with traffic.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Lawyer at Jones Law Group
Have you or a loved one been injured in a motorcycle accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of another, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.
Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, FL 33707