Just last Sunday night on August 16, Port St. Lucie authorities responded to an accident on I-95. A 20-year-old driver of a Mustang was trying to exit when a Suzuki motorcycle crashed into the side of her car. The driver of the motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene. He was only 35 years old.
What Increases the Chances of a Motorcycle Accident?
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 9,143 motorcycle crashes in 2018 and a three-year average of 520 motorcycle fatalities. There are a number of reasons why these accidents happen, but some common causes are good to keep in mind. For example, bad weather and rough road conditions can inhibit a driver. You may not be able to see a motorcyclist in the rain or at night, or a motorcyclist may hit a pothole in just the right way to throw the entire bike off its course and into your path. Blind spots, in general, will always be a concern and it is strongly encouraged to use your mirrors with caution. Lane splitting, or driving a motorcycle between two cars instead of waiting to pass legally, is another common reason for accidents. It takes patience and responsibility on everyone's part to adhere to traffic laws and be mindful of each other on the road.
What Kind of Injuries are Common for Motorcycle Accidents?
Since there is nothing built around you for protection when riding a motorcycle, wearing the right kind of gear becomes even more necessary. In addition to a helmet, consider covering your body with clothing because anything left exposed can become seriously damaged on the road. Road rash on skin is a constant concern and is one of the milder injuries one can sustain in an accident. On a more serious scale, injuries to a person's brain or spinal cord are also common. Broken bones can be easily attained, and amputations can be necessary.
How Can I Protect Myself as a Motorist?
Ride Smart Florida provides several helpful tips for motorists:
- Make yourself noticeable.
- Wear a bright helmet, jacket, or vest
- Put reflective stickers on your gear
- Add reflective patches
- Wear protective gear.
- The State of Florida requires all riders under the age of 21 to wear a U.S. Department of Transportation-compliant helmet securely fastened upon his or her head; a person over age 21 may operate or ride on a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear.
- If you choose to not wear a helmet, you must be covered by an insurance policy that provides at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.
- Eye protection
- Goggles, glasses with safety lenses, or a helmet with a face shield
- Choose well-ventilated options to avoid fog build-up
- Do not wear tinted lenses at night
- Durable jacket and pants
- Leather when possible
- Leather boots when possible
- Athletic shoes that cover the ankle
- No summer shoes or dangly shoe laces
- Leather when possible
- Drive sober.
- Ride Smart Florida states, “In the US, nearly 30% of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in 2013 had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. Using drugs while operating a motorcycle, tricycle, or scooter can also increase your risk of sustaining severe or fatal injuries.”
You risk losing your money, time, license, and pride
How Can I Protect Myself and Motorcyclists as a Car Driver?
- Understand your car can kill. About half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involved another vehicle. There are way more cars and trucks on the road than there are motorcycles.
- Look out for motorcycles. They are much smaller than cars and can easily hide from your view. Always look multiple times before switching lanes or turning.
- Always double check. Motorcycles are fast and can quickly maneuver in ways you would not anticipate a car to move. You might think you know where the motorcycle is in relation to your car, but you need to make sure.
- Keep a safe distance. Motorcyclists can slow down without triggering their brake lights.
See the person. Try to humanize the person operating the motorcycle so that you see them as another human and not just part of the motorcycle. This small mental practice can help our attitudes towards caring for motorcyclists while driving around them.
Your Next Steps
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a motorcycle accident, now is the time to start documenting your injury and contacting a lawyer. Take a quick minute to contact us at Keller, Melchiorre, and Walsh today to set up a consultation to discuss your needs. By letting a legal professional look at your case, you free yourself up to focus on your health and recovery.