Many people decide to ride motorcycles because they are better on gas and offer Floridians a way to enjoy the beautiful weather during their travels. Unfortunately, with the advantages comes one very big possible disadvantage – the motorcycle accident. Below are some of the more common reasons why riders crash and possible ways to avoid them.
Car Making a Left-Hand Turn
A highly dangerous situation for a motorcyclist can present itself when another vehicle makes a left-hand turn. These types of collisions account for almost half of the accidents between a car and a motorcycle. Usually the car that is turning will strike the motorcycle when attempting to cross an intersection.
These kinds of accidents often happen between a pair of cars too, but because the motorcycle’s smaller, it’s much less visible to the vehicle that is turning. It is also important to note, that a driver waiting to turn left is looking for cars, or rather a lack of cars, in order to perform their maneuver. Looking for the absence of cars does not necessarily mean they will recognize the presence of a motorcycle.
The best way for a motorcyclist to avoid these types of accidents is to maintain a constant state of alert. Assuming the worst about fellow motorists will keep the rider in a constant state of preparation for evasive maneuvering.
Poor Road Conditions
Gravel, dust, leaves, water and debris pose serious risks to riders. In Florida, the biggest threat to riders is rain and sand, which leaves the rider in a perilous situation where his ability to maneuver and brake is greatly reduced. Poor road conditions can increase the chance of brake lock up and loss of control, especially if a car in front stops short or unexpectedly enters the motorcyclist’s travel lane.
The best way to avoid these issues is to constantly take note of the road conditions and ride accordingly. If road conditions deteriorate, extra precaution and reduced speed is needed. Another important consideration is making sure to outfit your bike with the right tires for your local environment. A good tire can make a lot of difference in adverse conditions.
Motorcycles Lane Splitting
This happens when the motorcycle is driving between lanes of slow-moving or stopped cars, generally when there is a traffic jam. This is a very common reason that motorcycle accidents happen because of a few factors:
- How close the motorcycle and cars are to each other
- The reduced amount of space the motorcycle has to maneuver
- Most cars don’t think that any type of vehicle, such as motorcycles, is going to pass them in stopped or slowed traffic.
The best way to avoid accidents from lane splitting is to not engage in it. Lane splitting is illegal in Florida, so there is no reason to attempt it.
Alcohol Use and Speeding
Approximately half of the accidents involving only a single motorcycle happen because the motorcyclist was speeding or because they were drunk. This isn’t an unknown or surprising fact, since a lot of car accidents are caused the same way. The major difference is motorcycles don’t give riders a lot of protection; accidents involving alcohol or speeding often result in serious injury or death.
It is never advisable to speed, and the risks involved only increase with intoxication. Don’t drink and ride.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or someone you know was killed on motorcycle, it’s best to get an attorney to help you. An attorney will look at all the facts of your case and let you know what the next steps should be.
Every year there are thousands of automobile accidents. Too often, these accidents can result in catastrophic injury, which can be life altering and result in long-term hospitalization, rehabilitation and potential life-long pain. There are some specific types of injuries that are considered catastrophic including:
- Spinal cord – back injuries that damage the spinal cord can result in the need for multiple surgical procedures, long-term rehabilitation and can result in paralysis.
- Serious burns – auto accidents involving a fire, resulting in third degree burns, are considered catastrophic injuries.
- Amputations – unfortunately, some auto accidents are serious enough to cause the loss of fingers, toes or limb.
What Insurers Don’t Want You to Know
In many cases, an insurance company will try to settle with victims of catastrophic injuries as quick as possible. Insurers hope that by settling quickly, they can save money and protect their bottom line. Under Florida’s “no fault” insurance laws, your insurer will pay all of your medical bills, lost wages and rehabilitation costs. However, if an injury is considered “serious” (catastrophic injuries) you may have the right to sue the driver of the other vehicle, if they were at fault.
Florida is a comparative negligence state. That means that when two people are involved in an accident, the judge or jury must determine if one or both parties are at fault. Even as a victim, if they determine you were partially at fault, your final compensation may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
Florida has caps on punitive damages. Punitive damages are generally requested as part of catastrophic injury cases and are meant to punish the at-fault person for an amount greater than the medical, rehab, and lost wages expenses. Caps in Florida are set to three times the amount of actual damage or $500,000, whichever is less.
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury as the result of someone’s negligence, it is imperative you speak with an attorney who understands Florida statutes. Contact DDB Law today for a free consultation and we will be happy to review your case.
Do you have a new motorcycle and wonder what the helmet laws are in Florida? Or, maybe you are planning on vacationing in Florida and want to be sure you follow the helmet laws. Either way, we can help you. Here are the facts:
- If you are younger than 21, you are required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. However, if you are 16 or older and the bike meets specific requirements, you will not be required to wear a helmet. The specifications are below and they essentially outline a moped or scooter that cannot reach more than 30 miles per hour, on level ground.
- Engine displacement is 50 cubic centimeters or less
- Engine is 2 horsepower or less
- If you are older than 21, you are required to have at least $10,000 worth of medical coverage insurance in order to ride a motorcycle without a helmet. This insurance covers medical-related expenses if you are in a motorcycle accident, no matter who is at fault. This insurance will not cover medical costs to others if there is an accident. Those costs will be covered by your bodily injury liability insurance. You need to carry proof of this insurance with you while riding your motorcycle.
- All riders, helmet or no helmet, must have eye protection: goggles, glasses, or a windscreen on the motorcycle.
- The fine for not wearing a helmet is usually small, but if you are stopped then chances are it is for a larger violation. The fine can become much larger and increase your insurance premiums if combined with reckless endangerment or reckless driving.
Regardless of the law, we highly encourage the use of a helmet for all riders and passengers. We see a lot of cases involving motorcycle accidents, and are sensitive to what can happen when proper protection is not implemented. Have fun and ride safe.