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 motorcyclists safe:
- 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.