UNDERSTANDING THE DANGERS OF MOTORCYCLE CRASHES IN TAMPA AND ACROSS THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Motorcycle crashes frequently occur in the Tampa Bay area. Unfortunately, the accidents can likely result in life-threatening injuries and deaths. The recurrence of the collisions is disconcerting when considering that accidents are often avoidable through safety measures.
The MattLaw® legal team knows all too well the devastation of motorcycle accidents. We believe it’s essential to thoroughly understand accident statistics and motorcycle laws to create a safer and more enjoyable driving experience for everyone.
Number of Motorcycle Crashes in Florida
In 2019, 8,895 motorcycle crashes occurred in Florida — that’s 24 daily. While 24 may not seem like a significant number for a state with a high population, that number represents lives forever changed. Moreover, 52 percent of the fatalities were preventable if the deceased had worn a helmet.
Those lucky to survive crashes will usually experience a change in their quality of life and endure expensive hospital bills; 24 motorcycle accidents alone can lead to billions of dollars in medical expenses.
Most Dangerous Day for Motorcyclists
More severe motorcycle-related injuries and fatalities occur on Saturdays than on any other day of the week. The most dangerous month tends to be March when Florida’s climate is dry and cool.
Most motorcyclists are weekend warriors, and springtime is their moment to embrace their freedom and cruise the roads. Unfortunately, these days, the open road is a thing of the past. Instead, there are hoards of vehicles with impatient and reckless drivers — a recipe for disaster.
How to Safely Drive When Sharing the Road with a Motorcyclist
Motorcyclists are constantly at risk of drivers cutting them off, forcing them to swerve off the road, and causing them to crash.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation’s Crash Analysis Reporting System, motorcyclists are at fault less than half the time in crashes involving a vehicle and motorcycle.
Most motorcycle accidents are avoidable if drivers give motorcyclists plenty of space when driving behind them and merging into their lane. Also, drivers need to check their blind spots before ever switching lanes.
All tasks are more difficult for motorcyclists than other drivers — even stopping. It takes a motorcyclist driving at 60 mph around 120 feet to come to a complete stop. Unlike most drivers, they don’t have the luxury of halting to a sudden stop. If a motorcyclist attempted said action, they would flip forward over the handlebars, sustaining severe injuries or death.
Weather conditions are a concern for all drivers, but especially motorcyclists. Motorcycles don’t have tops to cover riders from storms or windshields to protect them from hard rain and debris. Strong gusts of wind can also easily push and knock motorcycles down. The conditions of the road are another concern, as the slickness increases the likelihood of a crash.
Drivers must understand the reality of motorcycles’ braking capabilities. Driving slower and giving motorcyclists room and time to maneuver, no matter the weather conditions, helps to avoid serious accidents.
Florida’s Motorcycle Helmet Law
The National Occupant Protection Use Survey reported that the use of Department of Transportation-compliant helmets by motorcycle drivers and passengers fell from 69 percent in 2020 to 64.9 percent in 2021.
The State of Florida has a helmet requirement law, but it only applies to riders under 21 years of age. Riders 21 and older legally do not have to wear a helmet as long as they have at least 10,000 dollars in medical insurance.
While it’s not illegal to ride without a helmet, given the reckless nature of some drivers, it would behoove every motorcyclist and passenger to err on the side of caution and wear a DOT-compliant helmet.
Alcohol Related Deaths
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released 2018 data stating that 1,213 of the motorcyclists killed in a crash had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of 0.08 percent, and 373 of the deceased motorcyclists had a blood alcohol concentration below the legal limit between 0.01 and 0.07 percent.
Motorcyclists need a clear mind to stay alert to the possible dangers that surround them on the road. Impaired motorcyclists are at a greater risk of death than any other motor vehicle operator.
Alcohol-related fatality percentage by vehicle operator:
● 25 percent of motorcyclists
● 21 percent of passenger car drivers.
● 19 percent of truck drivers
● 3 percent of commercial truck drivers
Riding a motorcycle is dangerous enough without adding the effects of alcohol or any other substances.
Hiring a Tampa Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one are ever involved in a motorcycle accident and suffer injuries — don’t wait to hire a lawyer. The experienced legal team of MattLaw® has been assisting victims of motorcycle accidents for years. Our team will collect evidence from the scene of the accident, speak to witnesses, and assess vehicle damages.
MattLaw’s fee is contingent — we only get paid once a recovery is made. We’re available 24/7 at (813) 222-2222. For information about what to do following a crash, download MattLaw’s free motorcycle accident guide written by Matt Powell.