Motorcycle Accident Facts and Statistics in Florida
With year-round sunshine and an abundance of beautiful scenery, it’s no surprise that people love to see Florida by motorcycle. The state is home to more than 1.3 million licensed motorcyclists, and countless tourists hit Florida roads on their bikes every year.
While motorcycling is a relaxing and refreshing pastime, it’s also a dangerous one. Motorcyclists are among the road’s most vulnerable road users. By design, there’s simply no way for a motorcycle to provide the same amount of protection to a rider compared to a passenger vehicle. The most current motorcycle statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show more than 5,000 motorcyclists died in crashes throughout the nation in a recent year.
In Florida, thousands of motorcycle accident victims suffer serious injuries annually, some of which will last a lifetime. Florida law allows bikers and motorcycle passengers to seek compensation for their losses when someone else is responsible for those injuries.
Were you harmed in a motorcycle accident in Central Florida? Brooks Law Group can help you demand money for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. You have legal rights, and we’re prepared to enforce them and seek justice for you.
Put our talent and experience to work for you. Call or fill out our online contact form now for a free consultation with a proven motorcycle accident lawyer.
Common Causes of Florida Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents happen for many of the same reasons as car accidents do. However, several key differences increase the likelihood of severe injuries. First, motorcycles are shorter and narrower than conventional vehicles. That makes riders much less visible to nearby drivers.
Also, unlike cars, there’s no steel frame to shield riders from the force of impact in a crash. That’s just the nature of the motorcycle. But regardless of a bike’s size or design, all motorists are expected to exercise reasonable care to prevent motorcycle collisions.
The top causes of Florida motorcycle accidents include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Unsafe lane changes
- Cars making left turns
- Sudden stops
- Road hazards/debris
- Bad weather
- Car doors
- Driver inexperience
- Lane splitting
- Distracted driving
- Motorcycle defects
When a negligent driver or other party causes a motorcycle accident, injured operators can file a claim for compensation. But it takes strong evidence and firm negotiating skills to effectively handle the challenges insurance companies usually raise with a motorcycle accident claim. It’s best to work with a lawyer to prevent your claim from being undervalued or ignored.
How Often Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen in Florida?
National data from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety shows there were nearly 26 fatal motorcycle crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in a recent year. The injury rate per 100,000 million VMT was 426, an increase from the prior year.
Per VMT, motorcyclists were nearly 29 times more likely to die in collisions and four times more likely to be injured than passenger vehicle occupants. These numbers highlight how prevalent motorcycle accidents are and just how dangerous they can be.
The statistics for Florida are not comforting, either. The most current available data from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) reported 8,895 motorcycle accidents in The Sunshine State in just one year. Of that number:
- 521 motorcyclists died
- 1,885 suffered incapacitating injuries
- 5,200 sustained other injuries
Motorcycle accident passengers didn’t escape unharmed. For the same year:
- 29 passengers died
- 187 sustained incapacitating injuries
- 447 had other injuries
Central Florida also didn’t fare well when it comes to motorcycle collisions. Consider these numbers for Hillsborough County based on annual DHSMV data:
- There were 640 fatal motorcycle accidents in a single year.
- 51 people died.
- 548 were injured
Crash statistics for Polk County showed there were:
- 297 fatal motorcycle crashes
- 31 deaths
- 249 injuries
The state defines incapacitating injuries as those that are disabling at the scene, such as broken bones. Non-incapacitating injuries are visible but less severe. Officers also record possible injuries, in which accident victims complain of pain or even lose consciousness temporarily but suffer no visible signs of trauma.
It’s critical to remember that there are plenty of serious injuries that may be “invisible,” such as concussions or internal bleeding. Many motorcycle accident injuries also have a delayed onset, where symptoms may not emerge for hours or days after the wreck. You should always see a doctor immediately if you were involved in a motorcycle crash to protect your health and a potential legal claim.
Do Motorcycle Helmets Save Lives?
Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that helmets reduce motorcycle accident deaths by 22 to 42 percent and traumatic brain injuries by up to 69 percent.
Florida has no universal helmet law, but certain age and insurance requirements dictate who must ride helmeted. At Brooks Law Group, we strongly urge all motorcyclists to wear Department of Transportation (DOT)-compliant helmets. These motorcycle helmets meet federal safety standards designed to protect operators and passengers.
While all helmets sold in the U.S. are required to meet safety regulations and carry a DOT label, NHTSA cautions that some retailers carry “novelty helmets” that do not provide the same level of protection as compliant helmets and may even have fake DOT certification labels. Click here to learn how to spot an unsafe motorcycle helmet.
Motorcycle Accidents and Your Legal Rights
Florida law grants motorcyclists the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists. That means you are entitled to file a claim for compensation if you’re injured in a motorcycle accident through no fault of your own.
It’s essential to act quickly if you believe you have a claim. In Florida, you have four years to file an injury claim after a motorcycle crash. If the accident was fatal, surviving family members have two years to file a wrongful death claim.
Don’t wait until the last minute to take legal action. You will need substantial evidence to support your claim for compensation and fight against biases that insurance companies and juries often have against motorcyclists. A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can gather what you need to argue for the best possible results in your case.
Keep in mind that if you wait until the deadline expires to file your motorcycle accident claim, you will likely lose your right to compensation forever.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Florida
You need a strong and sympathetic legal advocate on your side after a motorcycle crash. Choose Brooks Law Group. Our motorcycle accident law firm doesn’t accept flimsy excuses that attempt to deny injured people the compensation they deserve. We’ll fight aggressively for full and fair compensation that takes all of your needs into account.
Contact us today for a free consultation.