Living in Florida is wonderful for many reasons, but most people would probably agree that being out on the road isn’t one of them. Year after year, our state has been consistently named as a place with some of the worst drivers and most dangerous roads in the country.
Car drivers aren’t just the only people in great danger on our roads – motorcyclists face even higher risks of accidents and fatalities. Perhaps not surprisingly with our overall traffic accident record, Florida takes the top spot as the most dangerous state for motorcycle riders.
The Tragedy of Motorcycle Accidents in Florida
In 2015, after almost a decade of decreasing fatalities, motorcycle accident deaths jumped up by 5,000 across the United States. That’s 10% more motorcycle accident deaths than from the previous year. Florida alone, had 606 motorcyclists killed on our roads. That’s a jump of 30% in fatalities from motorcycle accidents in 2014.
Why the jump? One reason may be that there are simply more motorcyclists on our roads. During the year, the amount of motorcycles registered in Florida rose by 3%. Of course, there’s a big difference between 3% and 30% — extra motorcycles can’t be the only reason for the increase in fatalities. The numbers from 2016 and 2017 aren’t out yet, but it’s safe to assume that we probably won’t see drastic reductions in accidents.
This year, Daytona Beach’s Bike Week brought in tens of thousands of drivers, and it didn’t take long for the event to see a motorcycle accident. In fact, three major motorcycle accidents killed two and injured six within a 24 hour period.
Some of the most dangerous areas for motorcycle accidents include Miami-Dade County, Brevard, and Orange County.
How Riders Can Stay Safe on Florida Roads This Summer
Summer in Florida is prime time for riders to jump on their bikes and take a nice, long road trip. Unfortunately, Summer is also the most dangerous season to be on the road in our state. More drivers (including more inexperienced drivers who are here on summer vacation), more parties, and hotter weather tend to lead to more accidents in the summer.
Stay safe on your motorcycle this summer with these safety tips:
Wear a Helmet (And the Right Gear): Sure, it’s legal to ride without a helmet in Florida, but it’s really unsafe. If you have an open-faced helmet, be sure to also wear proper face protection, including goggles. Your attire should cover as much skin as possible to protect you from things that may be whizzing by on the road. Even in the summer weather, long sleeves and thick shoes are a must.
Know Your Abilities and Your Limits: Large groups and big parties of motorcyclists may result in you riding with people who have a lot more experience or take more risks than you. Do not feel pressured by other bikers to leave your comfort zone. Know your limits. Falling behind the pack isn’t fun, but it sure beats winding up in the hospital.
Update Your Bike: Before you ride, be sure to check parts like the brakes and tires, and look out of any hazards like loose parts or leaks. Don’t drive on a bum bike. Find a mechanic you like and make sure your ride is in tip-top shape before you head out.
Also, make sure you fit on your bike: your feet need to be able to rest on the ground when you stop, it should be easy to hop on and off, and the controls should be easily accessible.
If you have an older bike, look into updating it with anti-lock braking systems. This latest advancement reduces your chance of a fatal accident – deaths are 31% lower for motorcycles that have anti-locking brakes. They are currently required for all bikes around the European Union, but this requirement may come to the United States soon.
Talk to Family and Friends about Motorcycle Safety: Not all motorcycle accidents are caused by bikers. Drivers who fail to exercise caution or don’t share the road are a big risk. Talk to family members and friends who drive about how to stay safe while sharing the road with motorcycles. Talk to other bikers about safety, too, and don’t be afraid to call out risky or unsafe behavior.
If You Are Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
Hopping on your motorcycle always presents a risk, no matter how safe you are. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you may face medical bills and expenses due to someone else’s negligence. For more information on how you can get the compensation you need after a motorcycle accident, reach out to a Florida personal injury lawyer.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.