Common Factors that Cause Florida Motorcycle Accidents
Research done by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) shows that in 2020, motorcycle accidents made up roughly 2% of the total crashes in Pinellas County, Florida. However, motorcycle fatalities made up 16% of fatalities in Pinellas County. This means that while motorcyclists make up a small fraction of vehicles caused by accidents, they are disproportionately more involved in fatalities. Motorcyclists are more susceptible to the types of injuries that cause fatalities, as well as motorcycle bias.
At the Jones Law Group, our attorneys have represented people involved in motorcycle accidents for a long time and have heard almost every causation for motorcycle accidents in Florida. Below we have compiled a list of the most common causes our attorneys have heard. Get in touch with our motorcycle accident attorneys as soon as you can by giving us a call at (727) 571-1333 or contacting us online to schedule a free consultation.
Common Causes of Florida Motorcycle Accidents
Pinellas County is ranked 6th in the most motorcycle fatalities in Florida, with an average of 22.3% of all crashes resulting in a fatality. In 2020, Pinellas County had 411 motorcycle accidents, roughly 1 a day. Here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents.
1. Automobile Drivers Failing to See the Motorcycle
A study by Consumer Reports found that the average midsized sedan has a blind spot of 13 feet for an average-height driver (5’8). For an average-sized Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), there is a blind spot of 18 feet for an average-height driver. The amount of distance in a car’s blind spot is even larger for shorter drivers (5’1).
This is especially dangerous as the average size for a motorcycle is 6 to 8 feet. This means that to the average driver, a motorcycle could very easily not be seen in their blind spot. Many accidents are caused by drivers merging lanes without checking their mirrors and/or blind spots. For motorcyclists, sudden merging can cause them to lose control of their vehicle or be pushed off the road leading to many injuries.
2. Distracted Driving
In the age of cell phones, distracted driving has increased significantly. A major contributor to this is texting. An article published by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration found that sending or reading a text takes the driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. They noted that at 55 miles per hour, this is equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field while looking at your phone.
Distracted driving is just another reason why an automobile driver may fail to see a motorcycle, which we know can lead to an accident. There are many other types of distracted driving, such as eating or speeding. Roughly 95% of all crashes are caused by human error, which is primarily caused by distracted driving.
3. Impaired Driving
Impaired driving is defined as the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. The FLHSMV study showed that in 2020, 43% of all fatal crashes in Florida involved an impaired driver. Driving impaired can severely impact your judgment. Impaired driving is also linked to a slow reaction time, impaired vision, lack of coordination, and lack of concentration. In 2020, 32% of all motorcycle fatalities were caused by an alcohol-impaired crash. Avoiding impaired driver accidents is easy; do not drink or smoke and operate a vehicle.
4. Inexperienced Motorcycle Operators
Requirements for obtaining a motorcycle license endorsement include:
- Being over 16 years of age, per section 316.003(2), Florida Statutes.
- Must hold at least a valid Class E operator’s driver’s license.
- Taking a Basic Rider Course (BRC) through a Florida Rider Training Program (FRTP) authorized Sponsor, as per 322.12(5)(a), F.S.
- Obtain the endorsement within one year of BRC completion.
Florida law requires all motorcycle operators to be licensed. However, to obtain an endorsement, a person only has to go through 15 hours of training, training that is held in a secure and monetarized area. After that, they can drive on the open road. This alone does not institute accidents.
Without proper training, a motorcyclist may over brake, under turn, or fail to reduce their speed when approaching obstacles. Lastly, motorcyclists with less experience are less likely to know how to handle different situations and may perform the wrong actions when faced with an obstacle.
5. Sudden Weather
Florida residents often experience sudden weather changes, especially in thunderstorm season (May-September). Sudden changes in weather conditions significantly increase motorcycle accidents due to slick surfaces and visibility impairment. Sudden weather affects both a motorcyclist’s and an automobile driver’s ability to react in the presence of obstacles.
When it rains, specular reflection causes light to reflect off the water collecting on the ground, making it hard to see objects around you. This is especially dangerous for motorcycles as they can practically disappear due to the reflection. It is important that all drivers practice safe driving skills during severe rainstorms.
Why Should I Hire Jones Law Group for My Motorcycle Accident Case?
Motorcycle accidents can be hard to recover from. If you have suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, you deserve the right to heal. The last thing you need is to fight your claim against the insurance companies. Let the attorneys at Jones Law Group help. Schedule a free case review with the Jones Law Group by calling (727) 571-1333 or contacting us online.