Motorcycle enthusiasts love the power of a bike on the open road. Many enjoy the freedom of riding on two wheels and feeling closer to the outside world than they would in a car or other enclosed vehicle. However, as a recent report in The News Herald reminds readers, motorcycle accidents in Panama City and throughout our Northern Florida region are a very real danger.
In the afternoon hours of Wednesday June 13, 62-year-old Richard Joseph Munson was riding his 2004 Honda motorcycle with passenger Lisa Munson, age forty-two. Both were wearing helmets as they travelled north on State Road 81 in Ponce de Leon. 17-year-old Desiree Dawn Rushing was also travelling on S.R. 81, heading south in the vicinity of County Road 181. Around 4:40 P.M., Rushing failed to yield the right of way as she turned the 1995 Ford Mustang, crossing the southbound lane and causing Munson to crash into the right side of the car.
The collision caused both Munson and his passenger to be ejected from the cycle. Responding authorities pronounced Munson dead at the scene and took Lisa Munson to Bay Medical Center in critical condition. Along with her passengers, 15-year-old Shelby Rushing and 11-year-old Marissa Rushing, Desiree Rushing suffered minor injuries in the accident. Police are conducting a homicide investigation and charges against Rushing are pending.
According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 34,000 motorcycle riders were killed between 2001 and 2008. The time frame also saw an estimated 1.2 million people treated in emergency rooms nationwide for non-fatal injuries involving motorcycles. In Florida, the number of motorcycle crashes and injuries nearly doubled from 2000 to 2008. This trend changed in more recent years, with a 22.2% reduction in the number of crashes and a 21.5% drop in the number of motorcycle-related injuries between 2008 and 2010. Florida Department of Transportation officials attribute some of this improvement to the rider training requirements instituted in July 2008 and the implementation of Florida's Motorcycle Safety Coalition.
Motorcycle riders can take steps to make traveling by two wheels a safer experience. Some useful principles for safe riding are:
Of course, drivers are also responsible for roadway safety. Motorists should be alert and respect the right of motorcycle riders to share the road. If you are involved in an accident and suffer injury due to someone else's negligence, please contact our Panama City motorcycle accident lawyer. Our team can help you recover compensation for your injuries.