Because of Florida’s favorable climate and tax laws, the state has long been a popular home for people in their retirement years. However, retirees are not the only ones who are moving to Florida. The state’s overall population is growing, meaning that more and more people from all walks of life are calling Florida their home. Likewise, motorcyclists are drawn to the state because unlike other states, the Florida weather allows them to ride all year long.
Unfortunately, like Florida’s population, the number of motorcycle accidents in the state is also growing. Following a nationwide trend, motorcycle crashes and injuries have steadily increased in the past decade or so.
Back in 2008, Florida became one of the first states to require mandatory training for new riders. This helped to significantly reduce the number of motorcycle accidents by more than 10 percent during a three-year period, ending in 2011. But, in 2011, the numbers started creeping higher again, and fatal motorcycle crashes accounted for about 17 percent of all deaths involving traffic accidents. One year later, Florida motorcycle crashes claimed the lives of 425 riders and another 32 passengers.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, riders between the ages of 25 and 34 were involved in more fatal accidents than any other age group. Not surprisingly, in over half of all fatal motorcycle accidents in the state in 2011, the rider was not wearing a helmet. In addition to age and helmet use, the data shows that alcohol consumption was involved in a substantial percentage of motorcycle crashes in recent years.
All motorcyclists should wear helmets and other protective gear, and should do everything they can to ride safely. Moreover, drivers in other vehicles need to do their part as well. They must be aware of motorcycles on the road and yield to them when necessary. Any motorcycle accident victim who suffers injury has legal rights and may be able to pursue compensation from the negligent driver who caused the crash.
Source: Ride Smart Florida, “Data and Statistics,” Accessed on Sept. 4, 2014