Florida is the most popular state in the nation for motorcycle riders.
It is also the most dangerous.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Our motorcycle injury attorneys in Fort Myers encourage motorists to take seriously safety messages like “Look Twice, Save a Life.” Do not assume motorcycle safety is a rider’s responsibility. Most riders do whatever they can to stay safe. The reality is that the vast majority of motorcycle accidents involving passenger vehicles are the fault of the vehicle’s driver.
Liability for Florida Motorcycle Accidents
Our Fort Myers motorcycle accident attorneys know most motorcycle collisions result in very serious or fatal injuries. Even low-speed contact with a rider — such as in a parking lot or bumping a motorcycle in front of you at an intersection — has the potential to be deadly. The popularity of riding among middle-aged men, combined with the potential for serious injuries, make it essential to build a comprehensive case for damages against at-fault parties. These incidents commonly result in significant medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation expense, pain and suffering, and other compensable economic and non-economic damages.
In addition to collecting from an at-fault party, Florida’s low mandatory minimum insurance, combined with the high rate (1 in 4) of uninsured drivers, make it vital for riders to carry uninsured motorist (UM)/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. While these claims proceed against your own insurance company, seeking the consolation and representation of an experienced Fort Myers personal injury law firm is always advisable as your insurance company will treat you not as a customer, but as any other claimant.
Florida leads the nation when it comes to fatal motorcycle accidents each year and is the second most popular state for resident riding, after California. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports nearly 600,000 register motorcycles in Florida, but that doesn’t take into account the thousands of riders who visit Florida each year for events like Daytona Bike Week or to take advantage of the Sunshine State’s miles of scenic coastline and year-around riding weather.
The popularity of motorcycles has driven significant increases in the number of riders killed each year in the United States. More than 5,000 riders are killed each year, compared to about 2,500 riders a year who were killed at the turn of the century. Even amid those increases, Florida stands out as the nation’s deadliest state when it comes to motorcycle accidents.
Each year, more than 500 riders die in Florida motorcycle accidents, accounting for about 1 in 5 road deaths in the state. California is the only other state to report more than 500 rider deaths each year; and contrary to popular belief, it’s not kids and young adults who are most at risk. More than half of all rider deaths involve a rider over the age of 40.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Drivers in Southwest Florida
Top causes of vehicle-involved motorcycle collisions include drivers who turn left in front of an oncoming rider and drivers who cause rear-end collisions with riders at intersections. Drivers can reduce their risks of causing a collision, as well as the chances they will be found liable for significant damages, by following a few simple safety tips.
- Yield: Allow the rider to pass. Give the rider the right of way. Motorcycles are small and often appear further away or to be traveling faster. True speed and distance are difficult to judge. Taking a few extra moments to allow a rider to pass can prevent a tragedy.
- Give them space: Along with allowing a rider the right of way, motorists should give them plenty of space. Don’t follow too closely. Don’t progress at intersections until riders are well underway. Motorcycles often slow by rolling out of the throttle and/or downshifting, so brake lights are a poor indicator of a rider’s intentions.
- Look twice: The small size of motorcycles makes them difficult to see. A motorist’s view can be blocked by vegetation, parked cars or other traffic. Looking twice before pulling into the roadway can prevent a serious or fatal accident for which you will almost certainly be found responsible.
The number of fatal traffic collisions in Lee County continues to rise. By committing to watching for riders this summer, you will be doing your part to send them home safely to their families.
If you are injured in Fort Myers, contact our injury attorneys at the Garvin Law Firm at 800.977.7017 for your free initial consultation.