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Are Motorcycles as Dangerous as Their Reputation?

by on Thursday, May 18, 2017  —  Blog, Motorcycle Accidents

The warm weather and the lack of rain in Central Florida have made excellent driving conditions for our local motorcyclists. As your local attorney, we feel it necessary to provide the facts and education to keep the members of our community safe while taking a joy ride.

Although motorcycles have a notorious reputation for being “killing machines”, they serve as transportation purposes and a way for families to enjoy the open road together. Some common questions asked are, is driving a motorcycle actually an inherent risk? Are motorcycles really as dangerous as their reputation? The answers lie in the statistics, especially in our home state of Florida.

Fact: Florida leads the nation in highest motorcycle deaths

Statistics:

  • In 2015, 4,976 people died in motorcycle crashes, up 8.3 percent from 4,594 in 2014, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report.
  • In In 2015, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured, down 4.3 percent from 92,000 in 2014.
  • In 2015, motorcyclists were 29 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled, and almost five times more likely to be injured.
  • Motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, 4 percent of all people injured, 17 percent of all occupant (driver and passenger) fatalities, and 4 percent of all occupants injured.

 

Why Motorcycles Can Be More Dangerous Than Cars:

Numbers don’t lie. The statistics on the dangers of motorcycles reflect the inherent risk of operating one. But what makes motorcycles so dangerous?

  1. For starters, in comparison to cars, motorcycles have two wheels, thus making them more susceptible to a loss of balance on sharp turns.
  2. Lane Changes. Many motorcycles accidents occur because other drivers don’t see motorcycles in their side mirrors. As a result, cars change lanes and hit motorcycles that are in their blind spot.
  3. Motorcycles, unlike cars, do not have windows. When it is raining, motorcycles do not have windshield wipers to increase visibility. A lack of clear vision increases the likelihood of an accident.
  4. Because motorcycles drive on two wheels, they are extremely vulnerable to the surface they drive on. Whether it be sand, grass, or gravel, terrain becomes very important to safe driving. One pothole or twig could lead to a fatal accident.
  5. Driving a motorcycle is very different than driving a car. Learning to drive a motorcycle fit to your skillset is very important in order to perfect the art of driving. Unfortunately, many accidents occur because drivers are not ready to drive their motorcycles, this lack of training makes motorcycles very dangerous.

 

How to be Safe Around Motorcycles:

Motorcyclists: Safety comes first. Whether you are a driver or a passenger, the first thing to do to ensure safety is to make sure you, or the driver, are aware of how to operate a motorcycle. Secondly, ALWAYS wear a helmet. Many fatalities happen because motorcyclists do not wear helmets. This is especially true in Florida, where helmets are not always required by adults. As a result, drivers do not feel obligated to ride with a helmet, ultimately endangering themselves and their passengers.

Other Drivers: We’ve all seen the “look twice for motorcycles” bumper stickers. If you are a driving a car, this is especially true. When changing a lane, the driver is obligated to check their blind spot more than once to ensure that a motorcycle isn’t in sight. Once the view is clear, the driver may proceed to change lanes. Also, drivers should keep a significant distance behind motorcyclists. Because motorcyclists may lose balance, keeping a safe distance allows a driver to make a quick stop.

 

7 Steps to Keep You Safe:

  • Inspect your motorcycle before each ride to ensure that it meets all basic safety requirements. This is especially important if your bike has been collecting dust in the garage during the colder months.
  • Wear the right gear. Proper riding attire should be heavy enough to protect, and bright enough to be highly visible to other drivers. Reflective materials can help you stand out and stay visible. Don’t forget your helmet!
  • Plan your trip in advance. Always coordinate your route when riding with a group.
  • Stay alert! Fatigue can impair a motorcyclist’s ability to react.
  • Street racing is illegal and dangerous. Avoid aggressive driving, and always follow the posted speed limit.
  • Know the rules of the road and obey them.
  • NEVER drink and drive!

For additional tips, click here to request a free copy of “Florida Motorcycle Accidents” – a book our attorney Stephen K. Brooks co-wrote with motorcycle riding trainer, Joe Strohmier.

The Importance of Representation:

Due to the prevalence and frequency of motorcycle accidents, if you or someone you know is involved in an accident, it is vital that you hire not only a good attorney, but one that is knowledgeable about motorcycle accidents. If you or anyone you know is a victim of a motorcycle accident let our law firm help you understand your rights and get the recovery you deserve. During this difficult time we will help you receive the maximum compensation allowed by law and we will assist you through every step of the case.