Even though motorcycles represent only 3% of registered vehicles in Florida, motorcycle accidents make up nearly 17% of fatalities in all traffic crashes over the most recent five-year period, per Ride Smart Florida.
There are several factors that make Florida one of the states with the highest number of motorcycle deaths. If you lost a loved one to a motorcycle accident in Florida, a personal injury lawyer from our firm can help you seek the compensation and justice your family deserves.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Riding a motorcycle can be risky, as these vehicles are much lighter and smaller than standard cars and give riders less protection from impact or falls.
Common causes of fatal motorcycle accidents include:
Cars Making Left-Hand Turns
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that in 2019, almost half of the reported deadly crashes between a car and motorcycle involved the car making a left turn. Common reasons left-turn accidents happen include:
- Driver distraction
- Poor visibility
According to the left-turn right-of-way laws, a driver who hits a motorcyclist while turning left can be at fault for the accident if they fail to yield.
Motorcycle Collisions with Fixed Objects
A motorcyclist can collide with a fixed object, such as a tree or fence if they are run off the road or veering off on a slick part of the road. Riders who collide with fixed objects are more likely to suffer fatal injuries than those in a car.
Motorcyclists must be on high alert for road hazards, as small changes in surfaces can cause a motorcycle to crash. Road debris, faulty traffic signals, and potholes can lead to a deadly accident.
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Motorcyclist Riding Behaviors Can Impact Accidents Leading to Death
Sometimes, motorcyclists act negligently and can contribute to their own accidents and injuries. These contributing factors include:
In 2019, alcohol impairment was involved in about a third of motorcycle accidents resulting in death. In some cases, however, the person who died was under the legal drinking limit. Still:
- 29% of fatalities involved someone being intoxicated at 0.08 or higher.
- 18% of fatalities involved a blood alcohol content (BAC) level that was .15 or more, which is nearly twice the legal limit resulting in severely impaired driving.
In Florida specifically:
- 32% of fatalities involved a blood alcohol content level of over 0.01%
- 27% of fatalities involved a legally impaired level of at least 0.08%
- 17% of fatalities involved a blood alcohol content of at least 0.15%
Wearing a helmet can save lives. However, helmet use continues to decline even as rider fatalities increase. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury and death by 69%.
Wearing a helmet saved 1,872 lives in 2017, and almost 800 more would have been, too, had those motorcyclists worn a helmet.
Per Florida Statutes § 316.211, Florida requires 20-year-old riders and younger to wear a helmet, but for those 21 and older, the decision to wear a helmet is ultimately down to the rider.
The NHTSA states 33% of fatal motorcycle crashes involved the rider speeding in 2019. Speeding decreases a driver’s reaction time and reduces maneuverability, making it harder to react to dangerous situations.
Where the Majority of Motorcycle Fatalities Occur
A motorcycle accident fatality can occur regardless of what the weather is like, the time of day, and what type of roads you are traveling on. However, certain conditions put motorcyclists more at risk.
Where do More Accidents Happen?
The National Safety Council (NSC) states that approximately 33% of fatal motorcycle accidents happen in rural areas, whereas around 67% of fatal accidents happen in urban areas. A majority of accidents happen at intersections where drivers can turn unexpectedly or pull out from a side street or driveway, not noticing the motorcyclist.
Does Weather Impact Crashes?
According to the NSC, nearly 83% of fatal accidents happen during clear or cloudy weather. In contrast, only 2% of fatal accidents happened in the rain in 2021. These data show that driver behavior and decisions make a higher impact on crashes than the weather.
Time of Day
The data states 49% of fatal motorcycle accidents happened during the day, while 50% occurred at nighttime. Both daytime and nighttime can present unsafe conditions for motorcyclists that result in death.
Motorcycles can collide with fixed objects, but they can also be involved in a collision. In 2021, fatal motorcycle accidents involved:
- 39% of single-vehicle collisions
- 53% two vehicle collisions
- 8% of three or more vehicle collisions
Wrongful Death As a Result of a Motorcycle Crash
The loss of a loved one due to a motorcycle accident can be devastating. Money can’t bring back your loved one or replace what you are missing now, but compensation may be able to help you move forward and pay for the losses you are now experiencing as a result of your loved one dying.
If the accident happened due to someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t have the burden of also paying for their actions. A motorcycle accident lawyer from our firm can investigate the accident and determine who was at fault so you can hold the liable party responsible and collect compensation.
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Call Dismuke Law If You Have Questions About a Fatal Motorcycle Accident
If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, a wrongful death lawyer from Dismuke Law can help determine if you are eligible to collect compensation. We understand how traumatic losing a loved one can be and how overwhelming dealing with the aftermath can be, which is why we are here to deal with the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on your family.
Contact us today to Ask Dave and begin your free consultation.