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Florida Motorcycle Laws and Statistics: An Overview

Florida is one of the best U.S. states for motorcyclists thanks to our nearly year-long sunny and warm weather. Yet, though riding a motorcycle can be one of the most enjoyable activities on the road, it can also be incredibly dangerous. Our Panama City motorcycle accident attorney Wes Pittman lays out some of the latest motorcycle accident statistics and well as Florida laws designed to keep motorcyclists safe.

Motorcycle Statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2018, 4,985 people died in motorcycle crashes throughout the country. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), over 80,000 motorcyclists are injured annually as a result of motorcycle accidents. The same report states that motorcyclists are 27 times more likely than regular car passengers to die in an accident.

Another III report shows that breaking down motorcycle accidents by category reveals some interesting trends. Older riders appear to sustain more serious injuries than younger riders, for instance, possibly due to their declining vision or tendency to ride larger bikes more prone to rolling over.

Driver negligence tends to be the cause of many motorcycle crashes. In 2018, 26% of motorcycle accidents involved drivers with a blood alcohol content of over .08. Speeding is also a regular contributing factor, especially in fatal crashes. In 2016, 33% of deadly accidents happened while the motorcyclist was speeding. The same report notes an additional 27% 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 (GAO) did a report in 2010 that estimated total direct costs of motorcycle accidents at $16 billion that year. Those costs include hospital bills, property loss, impact on the employment market, and emergency responder costs.

Florida Laws Regarding Motorcycles

As you can see, the 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 acceptable.
  • 316.2085: Passengers are required to have seats.
  • 316.2095: Passengers are required to have a proper footrest.

Florida Driver Negligence Regarding Motorcycles

Many risks involved with riding motorcycles are not due to motorcycles being inherently dangerous. Too often it is the case that passenger car drivers do not look out for or consider motorcyclists on the road. As a result, it is often the fault of passenger vehicle motorists that motorcyclists end up in accidents and sustain injuries.

Just as Florida motorists owe a duty to other passenger car drivers and their passengers to drive safely and reasonably, motorists also owe that same duty to motorcycle drivers. Even so, too many drivers breach that duty and severely injure motorcyclists. When that happens, motorists 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 are what Attorney Wes Pittman has dedicated his career to. If you have been in an accident, reach out to us so we can help you.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with a Panama City motorcycle accident attorney.

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