The State of Florida has the second-highest number of motorcyclists in the whole of America. This is not surprising as Florida is a well-known holiday destination that attracts motorcycle riders all year round. It boasts great weather, beautiful views of the ocean, and breathtaking vistas. Riding a motorcycle around Florida can feel fun and exhilarating. However, statistics clearly show how a thrilling jaunt on a motorcycle can quickly turn catastrophic.
Unlike other vehicles, motorcycles offer little protection because they do not have a surrounding protective structure. Motorcycles are also known for their high-speed capabilities. This inevitably means that the consequences of a motorcycle crash are rarely minor and tend to be severe or fatal injuries. For this reason alone, riders should be trained fully with supervision. Once they are ready to take to the roads, they must wear helmets and protective body clothing.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a government organization that is committed to helping educate and prevent accidents. According to the NHTSA, over 80 percent of all motorcycle accidents result either in the injury or the death of the motorcyclist.
In 2020, Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) reported 8,043 motorcycle crashes, and 6,920 of those crashes resulted in personal injuries, with 551 sadly resulting in fatalities.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a motorcycle accident, then speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At The Law Place, we have an incredible 75 years of combined experience in dealing with road traffic incidents. Our law firm is committed to providing the Florida community with the highest level of legal assistance.
Our lines are open for your convenience twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Contact The Law Place on (941) 444-4444.
Preventing Motorcycle Accidents
Based on the abovementioned statistics, we believe that having a prevention focus is imperative. Everyone who rides a motorcycle should understand the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.
Many motorcycle crashes occur because motorcyclists underestimate timings when on the road. Overtaking a vehicle requires the skill to judge speed and distance. This skill comes with practice and experience, and unfortunately, too many people start riding motorcycles before they are ready. In order to prevent an accident, training is essential. New motorcyclists should spend as many hours as possible understanding how to operate their motorcycles when the roads are not busy. Learning how to maneuver a motorcycle under all conditions can go a long way towards preventing accidents.
Motorcycle Helmets Laws in Florida
Different states have different laws when it comes to helmet use.
Here are the laws as they apply to the State of Florida:
- Young riders must wear safety helmets – All motorcyclists and any passengers who are under the age of 21 years are required to wear a helmet at all times.
- Any riders over the age of 21 are exempt from wearing safety helmets if they have proper insurance – All motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers who are over the age of 21 years are not legally required to wear helmets if they have insurance coverage that provides a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.
- Eye Protection is a requirement for all riders -Motorcycle riders and motorcycle passengers, when driving in Florida, must wear eye protection regardless of what insurance they have.
Helmets Are Protective
Helmets have been instrumental in helping to prevent injuries that could have been exponentially worse. The evidence is overwhelmingly clear. Helmets save lives and prevent traumatic brain injuries. Consider the following:
- The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety have constantly favored the importance of wearing safety helmets. They state that more than 1,800 lives are saved each year by wearing motorcycle helmets.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk of suffering brain injury by 70%.
Interestingly, over 50% of motorcyclist deaths in Florida in 2019 could have been prevented had motorcyclists worn safety helmets. Even if it is not mandated by the law, take consideration for your own safety and that of your passenger by wearing DOT-compliant helmets.
The Main Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
The most common causes of motorcycle accidents are:
One of the most dangerous situations that a motorcyclist can find themselves in is when the vehicle in front makes a left-hand turn. The turning car usually hits the motorcycle that is going straight through an intersection, trying to pass the car, or overtaking it. In some cases, the motorcycle may have been partially responsible if the rider was speeding or in the wrong lane.
Unfortunately, motorcycles are more difficult to see. It is also unfortunate that many motorists fail to take a moment to check for motorcycles before turning left at an intersection.
Many fatal motorcycles crashes are a result of drivers whose judgment was impaired after consuming alcohol. Because of the lack of protective surroundings on motorcycles, it is even more important for motorcyclists to be vigilant. Even one drink can be responsible for reducing reaction times. In Florida in 2019, motorcycle crashes had the highest number of deaths due to alcohol-impaired driving in comparison to any other type of vehicle.
There are three types of inattentive motorists:
- Visual – Those that take their eyes off the road.
- Manual – Those that take their hands off the bar or wheel.
- Cognitive – Those that are busy in their heads thinking about things other than driving.
For decades, inattentive driving has been a cause of numerous motorcycle crashes. And, unfortunately, with the rise of smartphones, this problem has skyrocketed. Texting is a serious and dangerous distraction because it involves all three of the above.
Smartphones are not the sole cause of distraction despite being high on the list. Vehicle drivers who are feeling distraught, anxious, or emotional about something can be a hazard on the roads. Driving when upset is never a good idea. Always wait until you are calm. Applying makeup, reaching for something in a bag, or tending to children can also result in serious consequences. In essence, anything that takes a driver’s full attention off the road, even for a moment, can cause a serious collision.
A motorcycle crash is often caused by a driver traveling over the imposed speed limits. However, driving too fast for the road conditions is also one of the causes of motorcycle accidents. For example, environmental factors such as heavy rain and windstorm significantly reduce visibility. A car driver who continues to drive at normal speed levels instead of slowing down would be irresponsible. They might be unable to react or stop in time if a motorcyclist was suddenly in their path. The motorcycle rider is likely to suffer severe injuries in this type of collision.
Road Hazards and Environmental Factors
Uneven or slippery road surfaces and bad weather are causes of motorcycle accidents. Dangerous road conditions like loose gravel, potholes, or debris can pose incredible risks to motorcycle drivers, especially as motorcycles do not have the same stability as other vehicles.
Whilst adverse weather conditions are not in our control, making sure a motorcycle has its regular maintenance checks is. Being sensible and mindful when riding is also controllable. Slowing down and keeping a safe distance from other vehicles will help avoid road accidents.
Head-on collisions happen when two vehicles that are traveling in opposing directions crash into each other with the front of their vehicles. The motorcycle often flips forward onto the hood of the car, with the rider being thrown onto the roof of the car or catapulted into the air before falling onto the pavement. Most head-on collisions prove to be fatal for the person on the motorcycle.
This reinforces the argument for safety helmets. Wearing a properly constructed motorcycle helmet can significantly reduce the chances of suffering a traumatic brain injury caused by an accident. Having said this, this type of collision can be so intense that head injuries can be caused even when wearing a helmet.
Motorcycle Lane Splitting
Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist drives through traffic between lanes that are moving slowly or have stopped because of a traffic jam. Some motorcyclists believe that lane splitting is justified and safe in heavy traffic. According to Florida Statute 316.209, lane splitting is illegal.
The Number One Cause of Motorcycle Accidents
As we have seen, there are many causes behind a motorcycle accident. We believe that the number one cause of motorcycle crashes is visibility. Countless motorcycle accidents happen because other motorists fail to see them. This could be due to many reasons, such as:
- The size of the motorcycle.
- The driver was distracted.
- Adverse weather conditions.
- Inexperienced car drivers.
- Driver negligence.
Motorcycle accidents are unavoidable if motorists can’t even recognize when motorcycles are on the road. This is why visibility makes all the difference. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how safe or skilled a motorcyclist is.
Contact The Law Place
Far too many lives are lost in what could have been avoidable motorcycle crashes. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, seek the advice of an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A personal injury lawyer from The Law Place will get to work on your case immediately. We know how stressful and traumatic motorcycle accidents can be, and we want to help you recover from your ordeal.
Call us today for a free consultation. Our lines are open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Contact The Law Place on (941) 444-4444. We look forward to hearing from you.