Motorcycles and the sport of motorcycle riding over the past few years have seen dramatic increases in ownership involving all types of age groups, occupations, and social positions. No longer is the motorcycle just a mode of transportation primarily used by blue-collar workers as their number one source of transportation. Motorcycles have finally become a mainstream pastime in this country. Doctors, lawyers, judges, accountants, and just about every field of endeavor have motorcycle owners counted in their ranks. High school and college-age drivers are buying motorcycles and motorscooters at alarming rates. Where the bicycle a few years ago were these younger drivers’ chief mode of transportation, the mechanized cycle or scooter is starting to replace them.
Our college campuses are not the only place these vehicles are showing up anymore. Rode ways, urban streets, and non-restricted highways in and around Jacksonville and really the entire North Florida area are seeing tremendous increases in the amount of open-framed vehicles sharing the road with traditional cars and trucks.
Today more than at any other time in our transportation history the importance of understanding the rules of the road for motorcyclists as well as car and truck drivers is paramount to safety. Florida has enacted driving restrictions on motorcycle and scooter owners, requiring a state-sanctioned 2 -day driver’s course and licensing requirements. Unfortunately, this has not helped to slow down the ever-increasing number of motorcycle accidents in Florida and the death toll continues to climb.
In 2021, Florida recorded 8649 motorcycle accidents with 621 fatalities, one of the largest numbers per capita in the nation. With warm sunny weather and many miles of scenic coastlines, Florida attracts motorcycle enthusiasts year-round. Hundreds of thousands of motorcycles are registered in Florida and thousands more visit our state each year.
Chief Causes of Florida Motorcycle Accidents
Despite the ongoing efforts and driver education of the presence of motorcyclists sharing our roadways, motorists in passenger cars, operators of commercial vehicles, and tractor-trailers amount to the greatest number of at-fault driving behaviors causing motorcycle accidents today. Of course, there are contributing factors such as weather and thoroughfare conditions as well as the driving behaviors exhibited by motorcyclists themselves, which have contributed to the ever-increasing number of accidents.
Unfortunately, even with these measures in place, motorcycle, and motor scooter accidents are at an all-time high. Traditional drivers are being asked to share the road with an ever-increasing number of vehicles, many much smaller and less visible. Coupled with the increased distractions on the part of many drivers from cell phones, texting and similar activities have exacerbated the situation.
Motorist’s failing to see the cyclists – Given the size of most motorcycles and motor scooters compared to a passenger car or commercial vehicle, it can be difficult to see a motorcyclist on the roadway. Motorists frequently fail to see a motorcycle in their blind spot or even right next to them, resulting in a collision.
Distracted drivers – One of the leading causes of vehicular accidents is drivers’ distractions while operating their vehicles.
Rider inexperience – Operating a motorcycle by nature is much more difficult than operating a car. It is considerably more dangerous due to its size and lack of the surrounding protection vehicles offer. As a motorcyclist, you should be fully aware of the dangers that lurk around every corner, at intersections, and during changing weather conditions. Understanding the top causes of motorcycle accidents where the cyclist is at fault may help you prevent an accident from occurring. Unsafe lane changing, riding in driver’s blind spots, speeding, aggressive driving, and land splitting all can contribute to an accident.
Dangerous road conditions – Wet roadways, uneven pavements, chipped asphalt, workers’ areas, and obstacles in the roadway can all lead to a catastrophic accident for a motorcyclist.
Door opening accidents – Occupants of vehicles that come to a stop, often fail to properly check for oncoming motorcycle traffic before opening a vehicle door. This can lead to a deadly accident for a motorcyclist.
Impaired or operating a vehicle under the influence – A large percentage of accidents are caused by driver impairment, whether it’s the cyclist or the driver of another vehicle. No one should operate a vehicle, motorcycle or other mechanical device impaired or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Riding a motorcycle basically comes down to the cyclist making a decision about the amount of risk they are willing to put up with while driving. Most frequent motorcycle drivers don’t have a week that goes by without encountering a situation where a potential accident had to be avoided. Motorcyclists are virtually invisible to the average driver and because of the size of most bikes, blind spots and distractions are the number one causes of accidents. Many cyclists take unnecessary risks while riding but the majority of accidents that occur are usually at the fault of a car, pick-up truck, or truck driver that just didn’t see the motorcycle.
There are 4 basic learned behaviors that have to be mastered by any motorcyclist before he or she can reduce their risk of accident and injuries.
Number 1. Access the risk involved in driving safely. Conditions of the road, weather, congestion, and visibility, matching traffic speed, patterns, and drivers. Never exceed the speed of the bike where control is in question.
Number 2. Master the skills necessary to avoid a collision. Master high-speed driving, turning, braking, and stopping. Practice, practice, practice.
Number 3. Defensive driving at all times. Understand where the motorcycle is in relation to other drivers. Anticipate the moves, actions, and wants of other drivers you are sharing the road with.
Number 4. Most importantly. Making a conscious decision to not get distracted while operating a motorcycle or motor scooter. The concentration of the drive at hand is the most important thing while operating a motorcycle.
The US Department of Transportation has determined that for every mile traveled the number of deaths on motorcycles was over 26 times the number in cars.
Most cyclists don’t know that more than 80% of motorcycle accidents result in an injury to the cyclist. Some might be minor in nature like receiving a road burn, scrap, or damage to protective clothing. But many are much more severe and can even include being fatal, due to the lack of protection cyclists have with operating a motorcycle or motor scooter. Unfortunately, serious injuries often result in life-altering and life-threatening injuries including chronic pain, diminished quality of life, anxiety, emotional trauma, and stress. Many cyclists experience longer than normal hospital stays, months of convalescence, rehabilitation, and lengthy ongoing treatments. Unable to work coupled with mounting medical bills and loss of wages can exacerbate the time spent recuperating. Some may feel lucky just to be alive after a serious motorcycle accident.
The more serious side of a motorcycle accident
Fractured or Broken Bones – In many motorcycle accidents, the rider and/or passenger are frequently thrown from the bike and often at a high rate of speed. When the victim collides with the road or another object, the result can be catastrophic and may include multiple broken or fractured bones.
Injured or Severed Limbs – When extremities such as limbs are seriously injured, it may be necessary to undergo an amputation.
Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries – When a cyclist is catapulted off a motorcycle during an accident, one of the most common injuries that can result is to the neck, back, and spinal cord areas. Many times, a spinal cord injury may result in partial or total paralysis.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – These types of injuries are so common, that they even have an abbreviation for them. Failure to wear a certified safety helmet dramatically increases the risk of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in an accident. A TBI can cause anything from a mild concussion to severe, oftentimes irreversible, or even fatal brain damage. The number of states which allow motorcyclists to ride without helmets has increased the number of deaths due to head trauma. It is estimated that helmets are about 38% effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and 67% effective in preventing brain injuries. Even with all these statistics a large percentage of cyclists ride with limited protection and without the use of helmets.
Death – Many serious motorcycle injuries lead to fatalities. Because of the nature of being in a serious motorcycle accident, cyclists oftentimes do not avoid being killed. You are literally taking your life into your own hands while riding a bike on Florida’s roadways today.
We hope you never find out what it’s like to manage the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, but it’s best to prepare for anything that could go wrong, and often times does.
Here’s what you should do if you’re in a motorcycle accident:
There’s no shortage of motorcycle accident frequently asked questions, with these among the most common:
Were you or a loved one recently injured in a Florida motorcycle accident? If so, it’s critical to learn more about your legal rights for seeking compensation from the negligent party.
At Terrell Hogan, we’re available to answer your questions, provide legal guidance, and help you seek compensation for all your damages.
Contact us online or via phone at (904) 722-2228 to discuss your case with an experienced and knowledgeable Florida motorcycle accident attorney.
Financial Compensation for Injured Victims of Motorcycle Accidents
As an injured victim of a Florida motorcycle accident, you could be entitled to financial compensation for the physical and emotional injuries caused by the accident. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to hold the negligent party accountable for the injuries and damage you sustained as long as you can prove that the other party’s negligence caused, or contributed to the accident that caused your injuries.
At Terrell Hogan, we know that no amount of compensation will eliminate the pain and suffering you have endured, but it can ease your mind and help handle the financial burdens of medical expenses, loss of wages, and any ongoing care. It’s important to get immediate help from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, one who will conduct a thorough examination of the facts in your case, preserve evidence and help you obtain full and just compensation for your injuries.
You may be entitled to substantial compensation for any economic damages suffered, out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident, lost wages, medical bills, and damage to your motorcycle and equipment. You may also receive non-economic damage such as “pain and suffering,” to compensate you for the emotional trauma suffered as a result of the collision and the negligence of others.
Get the Help You Need After Being Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
If you or a family member have been injured in a motorcycle accident you need to seek legal advice from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. The lawyers at Terrell Hogan have been representing motorcycle victims and their families since 1974. We understand the mentality of motorcyclists and know the thrills and fears associated with riding a bike, but have witnessed first-hand the injuries that can be sustained because of the carelessness of others.
What separates us from other attorneys, besides our legal skills and experience, as we strive to give each client the attention they deserve, with transparency, open communication, and efficient handling of their case in a timely manner. We are committed to helping our injured victims receive the fair and just compensation they deserve. This means working together and supporting you through the entire legal process. From the crash scene evidence gathering, examination of the police report, and witness documentation, to expeditiously filing and negotiating directly with the insurance company on your behalf.
We build strong cases that demonstrate you deserve compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial damages you sustained from your motorcycle accident. Our first commitment is to do everything in our power to receive a fair settlement from the insurance carrier and avoid going to trial. In the event that we cannot reach a fair and just settlement, we are experienced trial attorneys whom most insurance companies do not want to face in a court of law. In any event, we are committed to one purpose. To win the case for you and your family. Our personal injury attorneys and staff are ready to assist you at a moment’s notice. Our consultations are always free and we have no fees or costs associated with your case unless you win. Call us today at 904-722-2228.
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