Our gorgeous Florida weather and picturesque scenery makes motorcycle riding an inviting adventure nearly all year round. This is true not only for our residents but it attracts riders from all over the country. High gas prices are another factor that push more people to buy motorcycles as a cost effective alternative to automobiles. Unfortunately with the increase in the number of riders, Florida has seen a rise in the frequency of motorcycle accidents as well as the injuries associated with them.
The accident statistics for motorcycle riders is frightening. Florida continues to rank high in the number of motorcycle deaths, with 287 fatal motorcycle crashes in the first 9 months of 2013. That number is expected to grow in 2014. The risk begins from the moment the rider enters the roadway. Many riders are simply not experienced enough to deal with the many perils that await them at every turn. These perils run the gamut from roadway debris, distracted drivers, aggressive drivers, speeders, the elderly and many other factors which make riding a motorcycle in Florida a dangerous proposition.
Our Legislature is well aware of the inherent risks and has established a mandatory Motorcycle Driver Endorsement (FS 322.12) which one must earn after a rider based training course. You can’t legally drive a motorcycle without completing this training which has helped significantly. However the Legislature eliminated the requirement that riders wear a helmet which according to statistics increases the chance of dying in a crash by 40%. For every mile traveled, there is a 30 times higher risk of getting killed on a motorcycle than riding in a car.
While it is difficult or impossible to avoid many of the perils that put even the most experienced rider in danger, there are several things that you can do to reduce the risk of an accident. First, practice your skills until you feel completely comfortable with the motorcycle. Also, make sure your motorcycle is in proper working order. This includes the horn, turn signals and brakes. Plan your route to avoid high congestion areas during peak hours if possible. Most important is maintaining a constant state of vigilance and never assuming the automobile driver sees you or is going to obey the rules of the road.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident you have the right to seek just and fair compensation from the other driver. These damages include medical expenses, property damage claims, lost wages, and pain and suffering. At Gibbs and Parnell, we have handled hundreds of motorcycle injury claims and have the experience and resources to help get you the justice you deserve.