With endless scenic routes, oceanside riding, and usually sunshine-filled days, it’s no surprise that Florida is one of the most popular destinations for motorcycle riders. Events like Daytona Beach Bike Week and Biketoberfest not only rally up the riders throughout Florida, but also pull in tourists from around the world to take part in the annual events. An average of 500,000 riders attend Bike Week alone every year, and as of 2019, there are over 600,000 registered motorcycles in the state of Florida. That’s a lot of potential for accident and injury.
The sheer number of motorcycles in Florida is enough to expect a high number of accidents. From the most recently available official data, Florida had the highest number of motorcycle accidents in the entire country; a whopping 10,331 motorcycle accidents occurred in 2016 alone. Of those accidents, there were:
Keep in mind that this data is only from the reported accidents and injuries. Many non-fatal accidents go unreported for fear of catching criminal charges such as a DUI.
From a study of 11,035 drivers and passengers who had experienced motorcycle accidents first hand, 9,543 people – roughly 86% – reported experiencing some kind of injury after the accident. Factors such as not having restraints such as a seatbelt, not wearing a helmet, improper clothing, and not having any barrier between your body and the source of the impact often make these injuries much worse.
The most common motorcycle accident injuries include:
Head injuries are the leading cause of disabilities and fatalities in motorcycle accidents. Riders are four times more likely to suffer an injury than a driver or passenger of a motor vehicle due to sheer lack of protection. Moderate injuries can include concussions and disorientation, while severe injuries can include loss of function, paralysis, permanent coma, and even death.
In addition, since motorcycle drivers and passengers are usually thrown or ejected off of the bike upon impact, broken bones, road rash, facial injuries, and spinal cord injuries usually occur from the force of hitting the roadway or being dragged across it.
There’s nothing quite like the rush of the wind in your hair, cruising down the coastline, and being right in the mix, which is why motorcycle popularity continues to steadily rise. Fortunately, there are some actions you can take to keep yourself safe on the roadways and help prevent an accident from occurring.
1. Make Yourself Visible
Most accidents happen because the driver of another vehicle simply did not see the person on the motorcycle and caused the collision. Yield when necessary, don’t wind in and out of traffic or lane split, and consider wearing bright clothing so you’ll stand out more.
2. Always Wear a Helmet
The fact that you’re legally able to not wear a helmet if you’re over the age of 21 as long as you can prove you have a $10,000 medical insurance policy should speak for itself. You’re expected to be injured if you don’t wear a helmet. Physical appeal should never outweigh potential death. If helmet’s aren’t your style, try finding one that speaks to you or customizing one yourself.
3. Wear Protective Clothing
Typical Florida weather usually has people peeling off layers of clothing or dressing sparsely to beat the heat. Save the tropical outfit for the beach and cover up while riding. A pair of denim jeans and a protective jacket will help lessen the effects of road rash, scrapes, and burns in the event of an accident. Eye protection, boots, and gloves are also highly recommended.
4. Don’t Drink and Drive
Approximately 25% of all reported motorcycle accidents occurred because the driver was under the influence of alcohol. If you’re attending events or bar crawls that involve drinking, sober up before you get back on the road.
In Florida, motorcycle riders generally do not need to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, but are required to carry at least a $10,000 medical benefits policy that can also come from your regular health insurance. As a result of this minimum coverage, you may be left responsible for exceeding medical costs for an accident that wasn’t your fault.
A cheaper monthly payment now may not be worth having to pay for thousands of dollars in medical care and lost wages later. The benefits of carrying a PIP insurance policy as well ensure your medical costs and lost wages will be covered, and will also protect any passengers in the event they don’t have a PIP or medical policy.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may want to talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer. In Florida, victims can fight for compensation that is intended to help you bring your life back to where it was before the injury.
Economic damages can include:
Non-economic damages can include:
Comparative negligence can come into play in personal injury cases to identify faults or possible causes of the outcome. For instance, even if you did not cause the accident, it is possible that you may not recover as many damages if you were not wearing a helmet because you would be considered reckless and negligent for your own safety.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident, protect yourself and consult with a motorcycle accident attorney today! Fill out our online form for a free consultation or call our legal team at (386) 951-5438 to be connected with a lawyer near you.