Florida’s warm summer months always see an increase in motorcycle traffic. And why not? Motorcycles are a great way to experience the state’s beaches, scenic open roads and other attractions. However, more motorcycles on the streets means more risks of motorcycle accidents. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the team at Rivas Law Group would like to take this opportunity to share some tips that will make your ride safer and more enjoyable.
Why Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month Important?
Cyclists need to pay close attention to safety concerns, since they’re more likely to be seriously injured in an accident than the driver or passenger of a car or truck. According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, in 2015:
- There were 4,976 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes (an 8 percent increase from the previous year).
- An estimated 88,000 motorcyclists were injured.
- Motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities.
- Motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 27 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic accidents.
Florida motorcycle accidents injuries can be expensive as well. Figures released by the Florida Department of Health list the total hospital charges for motorcyclists treated in a Florida ED or hospital after being injured in an accident as $675,674,964.00. The median hospital charge for motorcyclists treated and released from a Florida ED after treatment for traffic accident injuries is $5,294.50. The median hospital charge for motorcyclists admitted to a Florida ED for treatment of crash injuries is $83,676.00.
Be a Safe Rider
Motorcycle safety starts before you hit the road. Take a minute to make sure your bike is in good working order:
- Check your tires for defects and signs of wear; make sure tires are properly inflated.
- Check your front and rear brakes, clutch and throttle to make sure they are working properly.
- Make sure your headlights, tail lights and signal lights are working.
- Look for signs of oil or gas leaks.
- Check your hydraulic and coolant fluid levels.
- Adjust your mirrors.
- Test your horn.
Dress for safety. The only thing between the rider and the road is their protective gear. Always wear a helmet. Although Florida law doesn’t require riders over the age of 20 to wear a helmet, it’s just common sense. It’s estimated that helmets save the lives of 1,772 motorcyclists; 740 more could have been saved if they had been wearing helmets. You might also want to consider wearing thick protective clothing, such as a jacket, long sleeves and pants, boots and gloves.
Be aware of road conditions. Try to avoid riding on slick, wet or flooded roads. Look out for objects in the road. Obey the posted speed limits — speed is a factor in many single rider accidents
Be aware of the other motorists around you. Many accidents occur simply because the driver of an automobile was unaware of the motorcyclist. Watch out for vehicles that are turning, changing lanes or pulling out into the road.
Don’t drive while impaired. Forty-two percent of riders who died in single motorcycle crashes were alcohol-impaired.
Car and Truck Drivers Need to Be Aware of Motorcycle Safety as Well
In the majority of accidents between motorcycles and another vehicle, the driver of the motor vehicle is at fault. As stated above, they often don’t know the motorcycle is there until it’s too late, so Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a great time for other motorists to think about what they can do to keep others safe! Here are some tips to follow to make the roads safer for everyone:
- Always double check your blind spots before changing lanes, making a turn or pulling out into traffic. Adjust your rear and side mirrors if necessary.
- Follow at a safe distance.
- Don’t drive distracted.
When Being Safe Isn’t Enough
Even the safest rider may become the victim of an accident. Florida motorcyclists have the same rights as any other person on the road when it comes to seeking compensation for the damages resulting from your accident. If you’re a rider who’s been injured in a motorcycle accident and are trying to figure out how you’re going to pay your medical bills when you can’t even work, reach out to Tania Rivas and Rivas Law Group.
Tania is dedicated to protecting the rights of motorcyclists injured in accidents throughout Central Florida, including Tampa, Lakeland, Winter Haven and Orlando. Contact Rivas Law Group today to schedule a free consultation. Tania is eager to hear your story, review the facts in your case, advise you of your rights, and discuss your options for moving forward with your motorcycle accident injury claim.