Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in Florida Up 23 Percent
Florida reported that from 2014 to 2015, the number of people killed on motorcycles went from 449 to 554. That’s a more than 23 percent increase, according to early statistics gleaned from accident reports across the state.
Despite only accounting for 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the state, they account for 19 percent of those involved in deadly crashes. That is deeply troubling to our Fort Myers motorcycle safety advocates, who have for decades fought for the rights and well-being of riders.
Just recently in Cape Coral, a 53-year-old man was killed in a motorcycle accident. ABC-7 reported the crash happened on College Parkway East near South Pointe Boulevard, shortly before 5 a.m. The operator reportedly was traveling eastbound when he struck a curb and became airborne, crashing onto a nearby sidewalk. Another motorcycle crash was reported on Alico Road shortly before 9:30 a.m. on a Friday. Authorities told Fox4 a northbound passenger vehicle veered into the motorcyclist’s lane. The 34-year-old motorcyclist struck the rear of the vehicle and was thrown to the pavement. He was transported to a local hospital in serious condition. The driver of that vehicle, a 19-year-old woman, was cited for improper lane change and no proof of insurance.
A recent survey by AAA Consumer Pulse revealed that 1 in every 6 motorcycle owners do not have motorcycle insurance. It’s critical for owners to adequately insure their bikes, not only because of the damage they may do to a passenger or someone else, but because 1 in 4 drivers in Florida doesn’t have any insurance. What that means is that if you are struck by a driver who is not insured or who flees the scene (in a hit-and-run), your options for recovery of damages may be limited. Typically, the go-to is uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage, which is carried by the owner/ operator of the motorcycle. This coverage will also extend to passengers on the bike.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opines the average economic cost to society for each motorcycle accident death is nearly $1.5 million. That includes workplaces losses, medical bills, lost productivity, court expenses, legal services, insurance costs and property damage. And of course, that says nothing of the devastation experienced by the family and loved ones of those who die.
This of course raises the issue of helmets among riders. It’s a sensitive topic, but the NHTSA asserts motorcycle helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle fatalities in the event of a crash. So for every 100 motorcyclists who weren’t wearing helmets killed in crashes, 37 could have survived had they been wearing head protection. Florida law does not require operators or passengers over the age of 18 to wear a helmet on a motorcycle. The University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research indicated more than half of Florida’s motorcyclists choose not to wear a helmet. A rider’s decision to wear a helmet or not cannot be raised in civil litigation by the defense as a means to reduce damages. –injury lawyer Fl.
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