Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Accident statistics do not lie. The percentage of people suffering serious injuries or death after being involved in a motor vehicle accident far exceeds the percentage of people suffering serious injury or death after being involved in a car accident. The explanation for the difference is obvious: there is not much protection when riding a motorcycle. The overwhelming majority of Florida motor vehicle accidents involve cars, not motorcycles. However, the number of people injured in Florida motorcycle accidents has increased approximately double in the last ten (10) years. While it can be economical, exciting and fun to ride a motorcycle, it is also a very dangerous form of transportation. In 2007 alone, almost 1,000 people were killed in Florida motorcycle accidents.
When you need a Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
No matter how careful you are, motorcycle riders can often get involved in accidents due to other drivers inattentive and negligent driving. This could include talking on their cell phone, watching the kids in the back seat, or sending a text message to their spouse or friend. Whatever the case, motorcycle riders have to take extra care in making sure they don’t become a statistic. The lawyers at The Maus Law Firm have many years of experience representing people injured in Florida motorcycle accidents. The Maus Law Firm has employed accident reconstruction experts, engineers, and other consultants for opinions on accident reconstruction, roadway design, traffic safety laws, and motorcycle designs to recover millions of dollars for accident victims since 1993. If you have questions or concerns about injuries, contact a Florida motorcycle accident lawyer at Maus Law Firm Florida for a free consultation.
Florida’s Motorcycle Laws
Helmets can save lives and serious head and brain injuries.
Below are a few Florida Motorcycle Laws that apply to all riders and passengers
- Florida’s Helmet Law — The most controversial motorcycle law in Florida is the Helmet law. The full text of the law is located at Florida Statutes§ 316.211. The Helmet Law requires all motorcycles riders in Florida to wear a helmet UNLESS the person is covered by an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits for any injuries which occur as a result of riding the motorcyle. The reason the law is controversial is that motorcyle riders that do not wear a helmet and are involved in an accident are far more likely to sustain a serious injury, including traumatic brain injuries, than a rider wearing a helmet. In fact, in 2000, the first year the Helmet Law went into effect in Florida, there was a 48% increase in Florida motorcyle rider deaths over the previous year. Statistics were about the same nationwide with motorcyle rider deaths increasing 50% after riders were allowed to go without helmets.Florida’s Helmet Law only applies to motorcycle riders and passengers. Riders of scooter and motorcycles having a motor with a displacement of 50 cc’s or less, or rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower on a cycle that does not exceed 30 miles per hour, do not have to wear a helmet. Moped riders under the age of 16 are still required to wear a helmet.
- Florida Motorcycle Headlight Law — Riders of motorcycles are required to have their headlights turned on, even during daylight yours. However, evidence of a rider’s failure to comply with this law during the hours from sunrise to sunset, unless compliance is otherwise required by law, shall not be admissible as evidence of negligence in a civil action.
- Motorcyle Safety Course for First Time Riders — Every first-time applicant for licensure to operate a motorcycle must provide proof of completion of a motorcycle safety course such as one provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).
- No PIP required for a motorcycle — Florida’s No-Fault, or “PIP Law” does not apply to motorcycles. HOWEVER, the Financial Responsibility Law applies to ALL motor vehicles in Florida, including motorcycles. It is highly recommended for your own safety, and continued use of your motorcycle, that you purchase property damage, bodily injury liability, and uninsured motorist coverage insurance in case of a Florida Motorcycle accident or injury. If you don’t have coverage after an accident you can lose your license, tag, and registration to your bike, or be subject to restitution or civil court judgment for property damage, medical bills, and other damages caused by an accident.
- Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Law — If its your motorcyle (or car), you’re on the hook for what happens with it, even if you’re not riding it. If you lend your motorcycle to a friend, and he causes a property damage or injuries in a Florida motorcyle accident, you are responsible for any damage, injuries and expenses that are caused in the accident, even if you’re not riding the bike. In other words, be careful about who you entrust your motorcycle to.
These are just a few of Florida’s many motorcycle laws. You can find most of the laws at Florida Statutes Chapter 316. For more information about these laws, and your rights as a motorcycle rider in Florida, contact Florida motorcycle accident lawyer Joseph M. Maus at The Maus Law Firm for a free consultation.
Florida Motorcycle Safety Tips
Observing a few safety precautions increases your odds of a safe and enjoyable ride.
Research shows that your chances of being in a serious Florida motorcycle accident decrease significantly by following some basic safety rules. By following these simple rules of the road, you are much less likely to be involved in an accident or injured while riding a motorcycle.
- Education — Don’t even think about purchasing a motorcycle until you complete a training course. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (www.msf-usa.com) offers beginning, experienced, scooter and dirtbike schools nationwide. In most states, completion of the 15-hour Basic Rider course satisfies the riding portion of the licensing test and entitles the graduate to insurance discounts. The MSF even provides the motorcycle and a helmet.
- Don’t drink and ride — Over 50% of motorcycle accidents involve a rider intoxicated on alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drugs can obviously impair the judgment and reflexes of a motorcyle rider. Even when the rider’s blood alcohol content (BAC) has not reached the legal limit in Florida of .08, a rider’s ability to judge distances, speeds, and make the many decisions required while operating a motorcycle can be impaired.
- Ride at Safe speeds — Evaluate your surroundings before twisting the throttle. The common element that is repeatedly seen in motorcycle accident investigations and statistics is riders riding too fast for the environment they are in. Pay attention, watch your speed, and enjoy the ride.
- Be Patient — When the light turns green, inexperienced riders have a tendency to go without looking. Don’t do it, on your bike or in your car. Green does not mean go, it means proceed when it is safe to do so. Look both ways before proceeding.
- Check the Kickstand — Nothing demonstrates inexperience more than leaning into a left-hand corner with your kickstand in the down position, about to dig into the asphalt Its a crash waiting to happen, and entirely preventable. Check once, twice and, if necessary, three times that the stand is properly stowed before you ride away.
- Wear the right gear — Wear proper motorcycle boots–not flip-flops, not tennis shoes, not hiking boots. Shoelaces can quickly and unexpectedly become tangled around the shift lever, brake pedal, or even worse become entangled in the chain or gears of the bike. Also, abrasion resistant pants and shirt will save a large amount of road rash across your body.
- Avoid the middle of traffic lanes — Ride in either the left or right wheel track, not in the middle of your lane. The middle is where the most engine oil, gear oil, anti-freeze and other traction-reducing fluids accumulate.
- Neutral is not for traffic stops — Don’t shift into neutral at a stoplight or stop sign until a car safely stops behind you. Remaining in gear–and scanning your mirrors–means you can accelerate out of the way if a car approaching from the rear fails to stop in time.
- Use the brakes properly — Use of the back and front brakes at the same time can reduce your braking distance significantly. Use of the front brake only at high speeds can cause a rider to lurch forward and lose control.