Although motorcycles provide a level of freedom that other vehicles don’t, they certainly aren’t the safest of rides. Without the protection of a frame, motorcyclists must be more vigilant than other motorists.
Unfortunately, even the most careful and responsible riders sometimes fall victim to the negligence or recklessness of other drivers.
Here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes in Florida and how they might occur.
General Motorcycle Accident Statistics for Florida
Every year, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) releases a report on crash data throughout the state. Their last report for 2020 included a section detailing the injury levels of drivers based on their type of vehicle.
For motorcyclists, the results weren’t great. In 2020, approximately 517 riders and 35 passengers died in motorcycle accidents. In addition, 6,920 riders and passengers had a reported injury.
To put this into perspective, that means nearly 86% of people riding a motorcycle when involved in an accident either died or sustained an injury.
What Are the Main Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Without the protection that other motorists get from their vehicles, motorcyclists have more at stake when they get into an accident. It’s incredibly unlikely that they will exit the event unscathed.
For this reason, it’s important to understand the situations that lead to such tragic accidents even when being as safe as possible.
1. Improper Turns and Signal Violations
The most common causes of motorcycle accidents by far are improper turns and running red lights. Specifically, motorcyclists have the highest risk of injury or death when another driver attempts a left-hand turn at an intersection when traveling the opposite direction.
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 288 fatal motorcycle collisions in Florida involving a head-on or angled impact in 2020.
Unsurprisingly, nearly 78% of these crashes occurred at an intersection. This makes intersections particularly dangerous for motorcyclists. In fact, these two causes combined account for nearly half of all fatal motorcycle crashes in the state.
Speeding is a commonly cited factor in many accidents. Unfortunately, the consequences of speeding are far deadlier for motorcyclists if they happen to be hit.
Another report from the NHTSA found that 79 fatal motorcycle accidents in Florida involved a speeding vehicle in 2020. Even more worrisome is that 37 of these crashes happened at night or in low light conditions. This means that most Florida motorcycle accidents caused by speeding tend to happen at night when motorcycles are less visible.
Whether it happens due to heavy traffic or road rage, some drivers follow closely behind motorcyclists. This is incredibly unsafe since many motorcycles stop much quicker than larger vehicles can react.
In 2020, the NHTSA found that Florida had 68 fatal motorcycle crashes where the occupant was rear-ended. While this represents only about a quarter of all fatal accidents, it is a serious cause for concern.
4. Distracted Driving
Since so many people have a smartphone, there is always a risk of encountering a distracted driver. However, distractions also range from adjusting the radio to eating while driving. Regardless of the type of distraction, it puts all motorcyclists on the road at risk.
Despite the efforts to crack down on distracted driving, it caused 57 fatal Florida motorcycle crashes in 2020 alone. Six of these accidents involved a driver between the ages of 15-20, and nine of them involved a driver above the age of 65.
5. Drunk Driving or DUI
Out of all causes of motorcycle accidents, none are as challenging as drunk driving. Out of 288 fatal crashes, the NHTSA reported 272 individuals with a blood alcohol content or BAC over .08 g/dL, which is the legal limit for driving.
That’s nearly one drunk person involved in every reported motorcycle accident in Florida. This fact, above all else, makes drunk driving the largest risk to motorcyclists on the road.
Injured by a Negligent Driver While Riding? Our Attorneys Have Your Back
With decades of experience, the attorneys at Barrett, Nonni, Homola & Ferraro know the devastating injuries that motorcycle accidents cause. In many cases, victims find themselves with permanent disabilities or lifelong complications that restrict their freedom and lower their quality of life.
If you get into a motorcycle accident because of a negligent driver, don’t try to fight for your recovery alone. Our attorneys have a reputation for a professional, aggressive approach with a track record of proven results. To us, nothing substitutes for hard work and honesty.