Florida's famous sunshine and nearly perfect weather is what draws a lot of people to the state. Because of this ideal climate, it's no wonder that many of Florida's residents and visitors can be seen taking to the streets on motorcycles.
Yet with the large number of motorcycles on the road comes an increased risk for motorcycle crashes. Unfortunately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that Florida has the highest number of fatalities for motorcycle crashes in the entire nation, based on the latest stats from 2015. The number of injuries is also concerning for Florida’s motorcyclists.
Highest in the Nation for Fatalities, and Growing
In 2015, Florida had 577 motorcycle crashes that resulted in fatalities according to the NHSTA report, which is the highest number of fatalities in the country. The worst county was Miami-Dade, which had 67 deaths that year, followed by Hillsborough and Broward. Across the state, fatalities rose 30 percent from 2014 to 2015, indicating a growing problem for the state's drivers and motorcycle enthusiasts.
The Injury Numbers Were Also High
Fatalities are the worst type of accident, but motorcycle accidents with injuries are also quite harrowing. The lack of protection around a motorcyclist means the risk of serious injury is increased in these accidents. Sadly, less than half of Florida's motorcyclists wear helmets, as shown in observational surveys of actual riders on the road. The lack of helmet use increases the risk even more. The average cost for a motorcyclist who ends up in the hospital after a traffic accident is $83,676.
How to Stay Safe on Our Roads
Both drivers and motorcyclists need to take measures to avoid accidents to lower these statistics. If motorcyclists embrace better safety measures, and drivers become more aware of what's happening around them, including the presence of motorcycles on the road, these statistics can drop and pull Florida out of this top spot. In addition, both motorcyclists and drivers need to carry proper insurance coverage to help reduce the costs associated with accidents when they do occur.
Motorcyclists can decrease their risk of being involved in an accident by:
- Wearing DOT-compliant helmets, closed-toed shoes and eye coverings.
- Staying visible with headlights, taillights and reflective clothing
- Avoiding drivers' blind spots
- Using safe riding practices and practice defensive driving
- Getting adequate safety training for riding their motorcycles
Drivers also have a responsibility for these high statistics. Increased distractions on the road and lack of respect for motorcyclists contribute to the rising number of accidents. The good news is that these bad habits can be broken.
Drivers can reduce the risk of causing a motorcycle crash by being more aware of motorcyclists and respecting their rights on the road. Leaving room for riders, avoiding distractions while behind the wheel and looking for motorcyclists before making lane changes while driving can all help. It’s also important for drivers to realize that motorcyclists often appear further away than they really are, especially in oncoming traffic and at intersections.
What to Do if You Are Injured
While these numbers are high, the reality is that not all these accidents are the fault of the motorcyclist. Often, they are the fault of other drivers. For that reason, those who have been injured or who have lost a loved one after a motorcycle accident need to seek the services and advice of a personal injury attorney.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, Stabinski & Funt, P.A., is here to help. With over 45 years of experience, our firm has been helping injured motorcyclists get their lives back through financial compensation. For advice on what to do next, give us a call at 305-643-3100 or use the free case evaluation form online.