Bike Week 2014 reports increase in motorcycle accidents

April 11, 2014

In cooler states north of Florida, many people were welcoming the first blossoms of spring last month. Yet every mid-March, Daytona Beach comes alive not with fragrant blossoms, but with shiny chrome and the sound of revving engines. While Bike Week may be a legendary gathering of leather-clad tribes from far and wide, this celebration of biker culture often has an unfortunate side effect: increased motorcycle accidents.According to a report prepared by Halifax Health's trauma unit manager, this year's Bike Week reported a significant increase in emergency room admissions from last year's event. Between March 7 and March 16, 50 Bike Week-related trauma admissions were recorded. This represented an increase from last year's figure of 44. The average age of accident victims was 44, and 82 percent were men. Roughly half were wearing a helmet. Two accident victims died in the hospital, while last year there was only one reported fatality. The hospital prepares for this event by stocking up on blood supplies and scheduling extra help. Their trauma manager noted that they had expected a busy season, due to the harsh winter many have experienced in states farther north. This is reflected in the accident statistics: 52 percent of Bike Week trauma patients were from out of state. While these increased accident statistics may in part be due to a northern exodus from "polar vortex" weary bikers, it may also have been due to riding less safely.Florida has a special campaign in place to educate emergency responders about the unique skills and concerns involved in stabilizing motorcycle crash victims. Even so, motorcycles face many dangers on the road, and motorcycle accidents usually result in far more serious injuries than other types of vehicle accidents. According to Florida Department of Transportation statistics, motorcyclists represent under six percent of Florida's road use, yet 17.8 percent of Florida traffic fatalities involve motorcycle drivers and passengers. After Florida's helmet law was repealed in 2000, fatal crashes have increased by 21 percent per 10,000 registered motorcycles.Many of these Bike Week victims and their families may be contacting personal injury attorneys soon to determine if they are eligible for injury or loss settlements. Injured Tampa motorcyclists may also be entitled to compensation for related injuries such as broken bones, permanent disabilities, brain injuries and spinal cord injuries that were the fault of another driver. Source: The Daytona Beach News-Journal, "Bike Week 2014 trauma admissions were up from last year" Skyler Swisher, Apr. 08, 2014

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