A split second of inattention behind the wheel of a car can mean all the difference to a motorcyclist on the other side. In a collision between a motorcycle and a car or truck, the latter will always fare better. Motorcyclists are exposed to more dangers in motor vehicle accidents, lacking the protective metal shell of a car. Motorcycle accidents can easily result in catastrophic personal injuries such as broken bones, severe road rash, scarring, and neck and head injuries. If you’ve suffered injuries or expensive property damage in a motorcycle accident in Tampa Bay, contact our Tampa motorcycle accident attorney at Fiol Law Group for help.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Learning the most common causes of motorcycle accidents keeps you aware of your rights, and helps in avoiding future collisions. Human error accounts for the vast majority of motorcycle accidents – both on the part of the motorcyclist and the passenger vehicle driver. Motorcycles are more difficult to spot on rural and urban roads. A driver who is not paying enough attention to the road can easily pull out in front of a motorcycle, putting the motorcyclist in grave danger. Other acts of negligence, such as texting and driving or driving under the influence, can also cause motorcycle crashes. Common causes of these collisions include:
- Cars making left-hand turns. One of the most common types of motorcycle accidents is when a car makes a left-hand turn into the motorcycle. These collisions can happen when a motorcycle is going straight through an intersection or trying to pass a car. Motorists do not look closely enough before making the turn, cutting the motorcycle off or colliding directly with the bike.
- Drug and alcohol use. Driving under the influence causes hundreds of motorcycle crashes in Florida every year. An intoxicated motorist may fail to see a motorcycle coming and pull out in front of it, or weave in and out of lanes. Anyone driving at or above 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) level is legally intoxicated in Florida.
- Distracted driving. Every driver has the responsibility to reasonably look out for the safety of other motorists on the road, passengers, and pedestrians. Part of this duty is to pay close attention to the road. Eating, drinking, talking on the phone, texting, talking to passengers, or personal grooming behind the wheel can lead to a motorist failing to yield right of way, rolling through stop signs, and cutting off motorcyclists.
Don’t assume that because you were somewhat responsible for a crash you can’t receive compensation. Florida is a comparative fault state, meaning the juries will award compensation based on the proportion of fault of each party. You could still be eligible for compensation even if you were partially at fault for a motorcycle accident. Partial fault may involve speeding or lane splitting for example. Seek the help of a motorcycle accident lawyer in Tampa Bay to discuss your particular case and find out if you might be able to receive compensation.
Motorcycle Fatalities Are Rising
An alarming new study found Florida motorcycle fatalities have been increasing exponentially in recent years. In fact, Florida now leads the nation in motorcycle fatalities. A study compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found motorcycle accidents killed 606 riders in 2015. That’s up an alarming 30% since 2014. Miami-Dade County leads the state with 67 deaths, while Orange and Lee Counties were tied for sixth.
Why Are Fatalities Increasing?
One reason motorcycle deaths are increasing is simply because there are more riders on the road. In 2006, there were 6.6 million registered motorcycles in Florida. In 2014, that number had jumped to 8.4 million.
A recent study by AAA found some other enlightening trends. According to their qualitative research, the majority of motorcycle riders say they wear a helmet, but, according to the NHTSA, about 40% of all motorcycle fatalities between 2013 and 2015 involved people not wearing helmets.
In Florida, it’s technically legal to ride without a helmet, but, just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. You’re on two wheels and lack the basic protections of a car (like airbags and seatbelts). Play it safe, and wear a helmet.
Common Factors In Florida Motorcycle Accidents
One of the most common factors in motorcycle crashes is people driving under the influence. Bike Week in Daytona Beach provides a prime example. Each year, tens of thousands of bikers crowd into the city for beer, bikes, and more beer. Together, these create a deadly combination – during 2017’s Bike Week in March, two people died and six had injuries in the first 24 hours of festivities alone.
Other common factors in motorcycle accidents include speeding and reckless driving. People often drive motorcycles for the “thrill,” prompting them to drive faster or take turns with more speed than they probably should.
Types of Motorcycle Injuries
Being involved in a motorcycle accident can lead to all types of injuries, but some are more common than others. What’s worse, motorcycle injuries can be so severe that they last a lifetime.
Here are some of the most common offenders:
- Road Rash. Road rash occurs from skin scraping up against the pavement. This is an extremely painful condition that can necessitate skin grafts. The psychological and physical effects can be permanent.
- Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries. When people don’t wear their helmets, they’re more likely to suffer brain and spinal cord injuries. These may lead to paralysis and impede a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks they once found easy.
- Crush Injuries. Bikes are heavy, and their engines are hot. When a motorcycle falls on a rider or passenger, it can create profound crush injuries and painful burns.
Motorcycle driving may be fun, but it can also be dangerous. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of injury. Always wear a helmet, and never get behind the wheel impaired. When you have questions about liability in a motorcycle accident, talk with a auto accident attorney who understands the laws that protect motorcyclists and other riders on the highway.
Get Help from Professional Tampa Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Motorcycle accidents aren’t just physically harmful – they can be costly and complex. There are a number of rules, regulations, and insurance requirements you might face in Florida after a motorcycle accident. You need a team of Tampa personal injury attorneys by your side to help you understand and defend your rights. Motorcycle accidents are more likely to cause serious and fatal personal injuries than other types of motor vehicle collisions. If you suffered a major injury or costly personal property damage in a motorcycle crash in Tampa Bay, Fiol Law Group may be able to help. Contact us to take the first step toward recovering your damages. We offer free consultations to discuss the details of your case one-on-one without obligation or risk.