The month of May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. While it is important to exercise caution and safety when sharing the road with motorcycles, Florida highlights the importance of being safe while sharing the road with all types of vehicles, especially motorcyclists, during the month of May.
Florida hosts several of the preeminent motorcycle events in the country. Daytona Beach, Florida is located in Volusia County and hosts both Biketoberfest each October and Daytona Bike Week each March. These events alone attract thousands of bikers to Bike Week Events in Daytona, Deland, New Smyrna, and Ormond Beach. Unfortunately, they are also very dangerous and have often been marred by crashes and injuries.
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month was launched by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) in the early 1980s to prevent motorcycle accidents. It was the hope of the AMA that this month would highlight the safety issues that affect motorcyclists on the road, educating all drivers on these preventable hazards.
The safety tips promoted during this month apply to both vehicle drivers and motorcycle operators, as it is important that all drivers practice safe driving habits. In fact, motorcycle safety is everyone’s responsibility, including motorcycle riders, car and truck drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Due to the nature of riding on a motorcycle and the inherent risks that come along with taking one on the road, accidents involving motorcycles tend to be much more dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), 5,579 motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2020. This is an increase of 11 percent from 2019. Motorcyclists are 27 to 32 times more susceptible to deadly car accidents than car drivers.
Motorcycle safety often starts first with the rider. Certain things can be done by him or her to prevent accidents and at least mitigate injuries when they occur. One of the most important safety steps a rider can take is to wear a helmet while riding his or her motorcycle. This extra protection can be enough to prevent a traumatic brain injury from occurring in the event of an accident, as well as a number of other injuries.
While Florida weather does make it optimal for riding on the open road, riders should also avoid going out in poor weather conditions. For example, on days when our state is experiencing torrential rains, winds, poor road conditions, and decreased visibility, it may be wise to avoid going on the road on those days.
However, the burden is not only on the motorcyclist. All drivers need to be aware of motorcycle riders on the road. Pay attention while on the road. Many of the accidents that involve motorcycle riders happen because a driver is either distracted or does not respect the motorcyclist’s right of way on the road.
It is always best to increase the distance between a vehicle and motorcycle, especially when traveling at higher speeds on the highway. This extra distance allows for safer stopping in the event of a traffic issue. Defensive driving can also help prevent accidents when the driver anticipates potential threats on the road. By anticipating these threats, the driver should be able to react to them appropriately and quickly.
Drivers should also pay special attention when approaching or going through intersections, including stoplights and stop signs. Drivers should also check all blind spots, as motorcyclists can easily be hidden in one of these areas where a car operator may not have a clear view. Motorcyclists should also be mindful of a car or truck’s blind spots when approaching or passing a vehicle.
COMMON VICTIMS OF MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS
Statistically, 57-year-old riders are most likely to end up in a hospital with a non-fatal injury. While motorcycle riders age 25-34 are more likely to be fatally injured. The majority of injured motorcycle enthusiasts are actually Florida residents. Even though Volusia County is Florida’s biker’s paradise, it is statistically the most dangerous place to ride a motorcycle in the State of Florida. Palm Beach, Orange County, Miami-Dade County, Broward, Brevard, Duval, and Hillsborough Counties also have the highest number of fatal motorcycle crashes in Florida.
Our South Florida motorcycle injury law firm strongly recommends that all Florida bikers use helmets when riding. Currently about half of Florida’s bikers use helmets. In 2000, Florida became one of five states to repeal the helmet law. Florida Statutes §316.211 allows any person over 21 years of age to operate or ride a motorcycle as long as they have an insurance policy that provides at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash.
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For over 25 years, we have represented families of people injured and killed across the State of Florida in motorcycle accidents. If you have been involved in a traffic accident in Florida while riding a motorcycle, call Aronfeld Trial Lawyers for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights as an accident victim.