Florida is the most dangerous state for motorcycle accidents, according to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2013, more motorcycle riders were killed in Florida than in any other state, accounting for more than 10 percent of all motorcycle fatalities in the United States. Many of those accidents could have been prevented.
Motorcycle accidents and injuries may be caused by many factors. Often the driver of the motorcycle can prevent accidents before they occur by following the law and taking precautions. However, in other situations, other drivers need to be more careful on the roadway. Regardless of fault, there are common causes of accidents and injuries to motorcycle riders, including the following:
1. Impaired Driving
Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is a concern in any type of motor vehicle. Because motorcycles require a high level of concentration to maneuver and drive properly, impairment can cause devastating accidents.
Of the 467 riders who died in 2013 on motorcycles, 29 percent of them had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, and another 34 percent of riders had at least some amount of alcohol in their systems. Most of those alcohol-related incidents were single-vehicle accidents where only the motorcycle was involved. The vast majority occurred on weekends.
2. Lack of Proper Motorcycle Gear
Motorcycles have very little protection for riders, so protective gear is one of the only barriers between riders and injuries. According to AAA, motorcycle riders often wear the following types of gear when riding:
- Helmet – 86 percent
- Face shield or glasses – 81 percent
- Boots – 64 percent
- Gloves – 63 percent
- A jacket or protective vest – 55 percent
Although most riders wear some kind of protective clothing while riding motorcycles, some refrain from the most important gear – helmets. AAA reported that 32 percent of motorcyclists feel they should not be required to wear a helmet, and in 2000 the Florida helmet law was repealed. Since then, motorcycle fatalities have doubled.
A staggering 50 percent of the motorcycle riders who died in Florida were not wearing helmets. This is particularly unsettling because according to a 2015 injury report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, motorcycle helmets save 1,600 lives per year.
It is obvious that a lack of proper motorcycle gear, such as helmets, can result in significant injuries. Motorcyclists can help prevent more serious injuries by wearing helmets and other protective equipment.
Nearly half of all motorcycle accidents involving a single vehicle, just the motorcycle, are related to driving at excessive speeds. More than 34 percent of all motorcycle riders fatally injured in accidents were speeding, according to NHTSA data. Many of the other causes of accidents, such as improper maneuvering and sliding, are affected by speed as well.
4. Sharing Lanes
Although many states permit motorcycles to share lanes, they do not allow cars and other vehicles to split lanes with motorcycles. Further, if a motorcycle is larger than average or has an attachment of any kind, lane sharing should not take place. Accidents can easily occur when motorcycles share lanes or when other vehicles think they can fit into a lane with a motorcycle.
5. Failure of Other Drivers to Lookout for Motorcycles
Motorcyclists have the same rights as other vehicles on the road; however, they are often ignored or overlooked by other drivers. Because motorcycles are smaller, they can be difficult to see. When other drivers fail to see a motorcycle, either because of blind spots or failure to the lookout, accidents can easily occur. Car and truck drivers may cut off a motorcycle or turn in front of them without giving the motorcycle enough time to slow down or stop. Although motorcyclists can be aware of the potential for other motorists who may ignore or not see them, it is really the responsibility of car and truck drivers to watch the road properly and be aware of other drivers, including motorcyclists.
6. Defective Motorcycle Parts
Although many motorcycle accidents are caused by driver error, some are also caused by defective parts. Automobile manufacturing companies are constantly recalling parts and entire motor vehicles. If you had an accident because of defective brakes, tires, or another part, you need tenacious motorcycle accident attorneys who can fight back against the big automobile manufacturing companies. It can be difficult to stand up to those who have deep pockets and teams of lawyers. However, if they caused your injuries, you deserve compensation for your losses.
7. Improperly Maintained Motorcycles
Like any other vehicle, motorcycles must be properly maintained. Brakes and tires must be regularly replaced and engine fluids must be changed. It is important to know the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and to inspect your motorcycle frequently. If your things fall into disrepair, it could cause an accident.
It can be difficult to prove the cause of a motorcycle accident. Often an opinion from an accident reconstructionist or expert must be obtained. Contact our motorcycle accident attorneys with Canan Law today at (904) 849-2266 to find out how we can help you.