Florida wants its residents and tourists to be able to travel in the way that works best for them. Making sure the roads are safe for everyone traveling them is a priority for the state of Florida and motorcycles are the one of the most vulnerable drivers on the roads. In 2020, there were 8,045 motorcycle accidents and 552 motorcyclists were killed as a result of being in an accident. Residents and visitors want to know, is Florida a dangerous place to ride a motorcycle?
What are the most common reasons motorcyclists are involved in accidents?
Driving any kind of motorized vehicle can be dangerous, however the most dangerous mode of transportation is driving and riding on a motorcycle. It can be very difficult for large 18 wheelers and other passenger vehicles, such as buses, SUVs and trucks, to spot motorcycles because they are small and quick. In Florida, it can be even more dangerous due to the propensity of distracted driving from residents and tourists alike.
Motorcyclists in Florida face a unique set of circumstances and they must continue to be aware of their surroundings. They must keep their focus on driving but also the drivers around them who may be unaware of their presence. Accidents can be caused by a variety of unforeseen circumstances but the following are some causes of the most commonly occuring Florida motorcycle accidents:
- Distracted driving - Distracted driving is a leading cause of all accidents but is especially dangerous for motorcyclists. If a distracted driver veers into a lane with a motorcycle in it, it could be a fatal accident.
- Road rage - Allowing your emotions to control your focus and dictate how you drive is called road rage. This can be very dangerous in any situation but even more so for vulnerable motorcycle drivers.
- Speeding - Failing to control the speed of your vehicle, whether it is an automobile or a motorcycle, can cause dangerous driving situations. The faster you go, the less control you have over your chosen mode of transportation.
- Failing to obey traffic signs and lights - Traffic lights and traffic signs were invented in order to help control traffic flow and make driving safe. Failing to obey these signs and lights can result in catastrophic accidents.
- Driving under the influence - Driving under the influence of alcohol or another impairing substance is extremely dangerous. It decreases the brain's ability to react in real time and impairs the decision making abilities of your brain. If you choose to drive under the influence, you could be responsible for someone’s death.
- Blind spot accidents - These types of accidents happen more frequently with motorcycles because they are smaller and can fit into spaces that a car would not be able to. Drivers of cars may think they are clear to move, when in all actuality there is a motorcyclist there and an accident occurs. You must remember to also look over your shoulder when moving lanes, your mirrors may not be able to see everything. These areas are called “blind spots”.
- Road conditions - When traffic passes an area often enough, it can create cracked and potholed roads which can be very hard for motorcycles to navigate. Loose gravel and road construction material can also cause an accident to occur.
- Weather conditions - Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to weather conditions than someone in a car, truck or SUV. Motorcycles are open to the elements and can be moved around by a strong gust of wind or slide on a wet patch of road.
Motorcycle accidents can be caused by a variety of reasons. In some cases, the accident could not be avoided. That is very rare, however, as most accidents are due to human error. All motorists on the road should remember that they are operating a dangerous piece of machinery and that other peoples’ lives depend on them keeping their focus where it belongs. Motorcyclists are a vulnerable population on the road and deserve the respect of being looked out for when possible.
What should you do if you have been involved in an accident with a motorcycle?
If you have been involved in an accident, it is important to make sure you remain on the scene. The emergency medical technicians will want to check you for any serious injuries and you may be required to go to the hospital for a more thorough exam or for treatment. It is imperative that you cooperate with them and allow them to do their job.
The police will want to speak to everyone involved in the accident as soon as possible. They will do a thorough investigation of the accident scene and will interview any available witnesses to the accident. You can also collect your own evidence of the accident for your insurance company and personal injury attorney.
Using your phone, you can take videos of the scene of the accident - including traffic in the area. You can also use your phone to take pictures of your injuries, the motorcycle or other vehicles that were involved. Likewise, recording the statements of people who saw the accident happen could be very helpful for your insurance company and personal injury lawyer.
It is also important to call your insurance company as soon as possible. Getting the ball rolling on your insurance claim is paramount to being able to settle your case and move forward with your life once again. Do not hesitate to look into personal injury attorneys in your area. You will often find that they provide free case evaluations and it would be wise to take advantage of that.
Is Florida the most dangerous state to drive a motorcycle in?
Being involved in any kind of accident can be traumatic and scary. However, if you are a motorcyclist and have been involved in an accident, that can often involve severe injury and a lot of property damage to your motorcycle. The risk of accident can be hard to counteract the temptation of riding in the beautiful, warm weather of Florida.
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Lastly, understand that big vehicles may not be able to see you as well as you think they can. It is up to you to make sure you maintain proper speeds and distances from other automobiles and motorcycles. Pay attention and be aware of what is going on around you. Accidents happen but they can often be avoided.