While riding a motorcycle can be one of the most enjoyable activities on
the road, it can also be a dangerous one. The National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration reports that in 2013, 4,668 people died in motorcycle
crashes throughout the country. And in addition to the fatalities, there
were 88,000 motorcyclists injured as a result of motorcycle accidents. The same
report states that motorcyclists are 26 times more likely than regular car passengers
to die in an accident, and five times more likely to have an injury.
Breaking down motorcycle accidents by category reveals some interesting
trends. Of the all the motorcycle accidents that ended in fatalities,
over half happened to older drivers. And one surprising trend is that
motorcycle fatalities among younger drivers are declining; the under 30-year-old
fatality percentage was only 25 percent.
At the same time, 27 percent of motorcycle accidents involved drivers with
a blood alcohol content of over .08, and an additional 8 percent were
impaired by alcohol in some way. Speeding was also a contributing factor.
Thirty-four percent of accidents happened while the cyclists was speeding.
And an additional 24 percent of motorcyclists did not have a valid license
at the time of a fatal motorcycle crash.
Motorcycle accidents have significant economic impacts on motorcyclists
and drivers alike. The Government Accountability Office did a report in
2010 that estimated total direct costs of motorcycle accidents at $16
billion. Those costs include hospital bills, property loss, impact on
the employment market, and emergency responder costs.
Florida Laws Regarding Motorcycles
Some of those numbers can be staggering. But there are laws on the books
in Florida that are designed to keep motorcyclists in the Panama City
area safe. The following are examples of Florida Statutes aimed at keeping
316.405 Motorcycle headlights must be kept on while driving on public streets.
316.211 Motorcycle drivers must wear eye protection and helmets.
- Riders over 21 do not have to wear a helmet as long as they have at least
$10,000 in medical benefits insurance for accidents.
316.304 Motorcycle drivers are not allowed to wear earphones, but helmet radio is ok.
316.2085 Passengers are required to have seats.
316.2095 Passengers are required to have a proper footrest.
Florida Negligence Laws Regarding Motorcycles
The risks involved with riding motorcycles are not because a motorcycle
is inherently dangerous. Too often it is the case that passenger car drivers
do not look out for, or take into account, motorcyclists on the road.
As a result, it is often the fault of car drivers that motorcyclists end
up in accidents and sustain injuries.
Just as Florida motorists owe a duty to other passenger car drivers and
passengers to drive safely and reasonably, motorists also owe that same
duty to motorcycle drivers. Even so, too many driver breach that duty
and severely injure motorcyclists. When that happens, car drivers should
be held responsible, and be made to pay any damages that motorcyclists
in the Panama City area suffer due to a car driver's irresponsible driving.
Contact Us for Help
The Pittman Firm in Panama City Florida is dedicated to representing motorcyclists
when they are in an accident. Accident and injury law is what Wes Pittman
has dedicated his career to. If you have been in an accident, contact
us so we can can help you.