According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Highway Loss Data Institute – there were 5,172 motorcycle fatalities nationwide in 2017. Motorcycle accidents accounted for nearly one in seven-vehicle fatalities in 2017. Unfortunately, it is not hard to understand why. While motorcycle riding is a great joy to many people and more affordable than driving a car or a truck, there are many known dangers.
Less protection than cars and trucks
The greatest problem with riding on a motorcycle is that when motorcycle accidents happen, it is more likely to be deadly than when four or greater-wheeled vehicles have accidents. The motorcycle driver or passenger simply does not have the protection that these other vehicles have. There is no hood to a motorcycle to protect the rider if the vehicle flips over. Motorcycles do not have a front hood or a rear to protect the riders from a head-on crash or a rear-end crash. There are no side doors to protect in case of a sideswipe collision.
Death and injuries
The real likelihood is that when a motorcycle collides with a vehicle, the rider will either be crushed or the rider will fall or fly to the hard asphalt. Many motorcycle riders die when collisions occur. Riders who survive a motorcycle accident often:
- Suffer broken bones
- Have a traumatic brain injury if their head strikes the ground or the other vehicle
- Endure spinal cord images to the back, neck, and spine
- Have internal organ damage
- Suffer many other types of catastrophic or permanent injuries
When a motorcycle rider dies, the family of the rider has the right to file a wrongful death claim against any responsible parties. Florida motorcycle accident lawyers file wrongful death claims to help compensate the family for lost income; for the loss of the society, support, and companionship of their family members, for the costs of the funeral and burial, and other damages.
The physical dimensions of a motorcycle
A motorcycle is much shorter, much lower, and weighs less than most small cars – even the smaller cars. Most motorcycles weigh less than cars and trucks. Simply put, if a motorcycle collides with a bigger vehicle, the motorcycle is going to take the brunt of the physical impact.
When a motorcycle accident happens, the riders are likely to be thrown into other lanes of traffic. This means they can suffer harm in three different ways:
- Through direct contact with another vehicle
- Through the impact with the ground or any roadway obstacles
- With oncoming vehicles
Just the smallest bump or change in direction can throw a rider off course. Common road hazards that can cause a motorcycle to spin out of control or to fall include:
- Uneven road surfaces
- Shifting from one type of road surface to another
- Dead animals
- Any type of roadway debris
The elements can pose grave risks to motorcycle drivers and help cause motorcycle accidents. The sun can make it hard to see. Wet roads due to rain and snow can cause a motorcycle to hydroplane. The wet surfaces almost certainly will make it much harder to stop. The heat and cold can also make it hard for the driver to focus on the road
Cars and trucks don’t anticipate motorcycles
Many motorcycle accidents are due to negligence of the drivers of four-wheel cars and multi-wheel trucks. Car drivers, for example, often fail to judge correctly how motorcycle operators are traveling. They fail to give the motorcycle driver the right of way. Car and truck drivers often fail to pick up motorcycles in their rear-view mirrors or blind spots. Car drivers often fail to see when a motorcycle driver is passing them. Many car and truck cars fail to gauge correctly the motion of a motorcycle when both are turning or both are in an intersection. Strong Florida motorcycle accident lawyers hold negligent car and truck drivers accountable.
Lack of proper training
Many motorcycle passengers have the right to hold their motorcycle driver liable because the driver did not have proper training. Motorcycle riding is difficult. Riders should get the training and experience they need to navigate turns so the motorcycle does not spill over in the turn. Motorcycle operators need to know how to ride in groups.
Lane splitting can be extremely dangerous and cause motorcycle accidents. Though many people argue that lane-splitting has safety benefits, lane-splitting is not currently legal in Florida.
Florida motorcycle safety regulations
Florida generally requires that:
- Riders wear approved eye-protection devices such as goggles
- Riders under age 16 must wear properly approved (by the Florida Department of Transportation) helmets. Drivers 16 and under do not have to wear a helmet – though helmets are generally advisable protective gear
- Motorcycles should have working headlights, tail-lights, turn signals, and reflectors
- Also, the motorcycles should have both left and right-side mirrors
- If a driver allows a passenger on the motorcycle, the passenger should have his/her own seat and his/her own footrest.
Generally, any vehicle with just two wheels is going to be less stable than a vehicle with four or more vehicles. Many motorcycle accidents happen as the motorcycles turn, swerve, brake, or accelerate.
Distraction and risk
Motorcycle operators cannot afford any distractions. They should not eat, use a smartphone, drink, or perform any tasks that will take their hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road, and their mind off of traffic.