According to the latest statistics from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department, there were over 9,143 motorcycle accidents in Florida in 2018. Among these accidents, 7,849 resulted in injuries and 531 casualties. 313 of those accidents happened right here in Polk County — 274 riders were injured and 12 died.
Motorcyclists are more likely to be injured in an accident because they lack the enclosure and safety restraints found in cars and trucks. Injuries in motorcycle accidents can range from superficial to severe:
- Bone fractures
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Internal organ damage
Emergency medical treatment to save the life of the rider is often required for these injuries. Even after treatment, the victim may never recover from the effects of their injuries. In the worst cases, the injuries received in a motorcycle accident can prove to be fatal.
What are some of the common causes of motorcycle accidents in Florida? And how can they be prevented?
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Other vehicles. In most motorcycle/auto crashes, the driver of the automobile is the one at fault. Drivers get distracted or simply don’t see a motorcycle, leading to accidents caused by:
- Making a turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle
- Failing to check blind spots or signaling when changing lanes
- Distracted driving
- Running a red light or stop sign at an intersection
Rider error. Speeding and impaired driving are the leading causes of single motorcycle accidents in Florida. Inexperience, distracted driving also, lane splitting and other such actions factor into many single motorcycle accidents.
Mechanical failures. Worn or defective parts — brakes, wheels, lights, etc. are the culprit in many motorcycle accidents.
Environmental factors. Wind, rain, blowing sand and dust, and smoke are a few of the environmental factors that can cause a motorcycle accident.
Road Hazards. Trash and other road debris, as well as poorly maintained or lit roadways can cause a motorcycle accident. In addition, striking a fixed object on or near the road, such as a traffic sign, light pole or tree, causes many fatal motorcycles crashes each year.
Preventing Motorcycle Accidents in Florida
Motorcycle accidents and the terrible injuries that often result can be reduced by being a safe rider. Being a safe rider means:
- Always wearing the proper protective gear, including a DoT approved motorcycle helmet. Helmets are the most effective way for motorcyclists to prevent head injuries. Long pants and long sleeves made of leather or other tough material can reduce the effects of road rash during an accident. Gloves and boots keep hands and feet from slipping.
- Never, ever riding while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Alcohol plays a big part in most single motorcycle accidents.
- Obeying all traffic laws, especially the posted speed limits. Speeding is a leading factor in fatal single motorcycle accidents.
- Being a defensive driver. Being aware of what’s going on around you (other vehicles, potential road hazards, bad weather, etc.) and making sure other motorists are aware of your presence is a proactive approach to avoiding a motorcycle accident.
- Inspecting your motorcycle’s tires, brakes, lights, etc. before hitting the road.
- Avoiding adverse riding conditions. This includes riding during bad weather or on rain slick roads.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Central Florida Motorcycle Accident
Some motorcycle accidents are caused by the negligent actions of the motorcyclists. Some are caused by adverse environmental and road conditions. However, the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Florida are accidents caused by the carelessness of the driver of an automobile.
If you’re a motorcyclist who has been injured due to the negligent actions of another driver, the law gives you the right to seek compensation for damages caused by the injuries resulting from that accident.
Tania Rivas and Rivas Law Group are dedicated to helping riders in Tampa, Orlando, Lakeland, Winter Haven, Lutz and other central Florida communities who have been injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t their fault. Depending on the circumstances in your accident, you may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other losses.
Call Rivas Law Group to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a leading Winter Haven motorcycle accident attorney – we’re eager to discuss your case, answer any questions you may have, and provide professional advice about your legal options. Don’t delay — there are strict statute of limitations laws in Florida. If you wait too long to act, the court may refuse to hear your case.