The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles currently recognizes the month of May as the Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month. In 2015, there were 9,914 motorcycle crashes and 554 fatalities. There were also 7,111 bicycle crashes, with 135 fatalities. With Florida’s great weather, 80,000 miles of roadways, and tourist attractions, the state serves as a magnet for motorcycle and bicycle riders.
Motorcycles: Who’s to Blame?
Motorcycle accidents made up 19% of all traffic fatalities in 2015. Florida consistently has one of the highest percentage rates in the United States. But who is to blame for many of these accidents? The vulnerable road user or the larger vehicle operator?
There are several things all drivers can do to avoid accidents and fatalities. It is the responsibility of both parties to remain focused while driving and be alert for other vehicles, regardless of their means of transportation. Motorists and motorcyclists should not attempt to share a lane together. Both vehicles must drive a significant distance from each other, especially during severe weather conditions. Finally, all drivers should be courteous and cautious when operating vehicles around each other during times of significant traffic.
Motorcyclists can further maintain their safety by following the Florida Department of Transportation’s rules and regulations. These include being properly licensed, being over the age of 18, and routinely wearing a helmet. Individuals under the age of 21 must wear a helmet approved by the Department. Individuals over the age of 21 are not required to wear a helmet if they have medical insurance over a certain limit; however, it is still encouraged.
Is Motorcycle Insurance required in the state of Florida?
Insurance is not required in the state of Florida for motorcycles. However, there are certain circumstances where a motorcyclist may find themselves personally liable for expenses. If the motorcyclist is charged with injuries from the crash or there were specific violations notated, the driver may find that they are personally liable for bodily injuries of others and even property damage caused by the crash. There are significant benefits to maintaining motorcycle insurance and should be considered by drivers.
Bicyclists: We must remember to share the road.
With the City of Tampa’s new bike rental system, increased bike paths on roads, and new tourist attractions, the probability of a bike crash or fatality continues to sky rocket. All drivers should remain focused on their surroundings, including to those individuals who are vulnerable road users. Bike riders should wear a helmet and exercise caution while riding. They should also remain in designated areas, such as recognized bike lanes and sidewalks.
Whether you are in a car, on a motorcycle, or riding a bike, it is everyone’s responsibility to look out, pay attention, and practice safe transportation habits. However, if you find yourself a victim of an accident, please contact Dennis Hernandez and Associates, P.A. for help with your personal injury case.