Keeping Your Distance: Rear End Collisions Often Fatal to Motorcyclist

Motorcyclists are often a rare breed, turning travel into more of a lifestyle than a commute, and forming quick bonds with other like-minded souls on the road. Those who are experienced riders have often already had an accident or two in their lifetime and are wary during their daytime commute or joyriding as they take off in much coveted down time and enjoy the natural landscape of the US.

Even most novices understand what to do to avoid accidents with cars, although they may not be as skilled at handling themselves in the event of a collision. The standard advice such as remaining visible (brightly colored clothing, neon strips on helmets, bike, etc.) usually applies to most individuals riding, along with being heard—which might be why you often hear engines revved at traffic stops. Education about riding is key, along with understanding the specific bike, and knowing how to perform basic, required maneuvers.

What is often overlooked, however, is the knowledge all motorists should have so they can avoid colliding with a motorcycle (as well as bicyclists or pedestrians, all of which are a concern with traffic accidents on the rise). Unfortunately, the most basic issues such as visibility are often a challenge to begin with as motorists’ eyes are so much more attuned to seeing larger objects like vehicles and trucks—and this is one of the biggest causes of accidents. But along with making sure they see motorcycles, motorists should always be aware of their blind spots, doublechecking for drivers behind them.

Keeping the proper distance can be the most important safety measure in avoiding a collision with a motorcycle though. Employing the three- to four-second rule is a good way to prevent accidents, and especially a rear-end collision—keeping in mind that motorcyclists may not give you immediate warning with a brake light if they are gearing down or coasting in anticipation of a stop. While it is easy to get irritated in traffic with any driver, remember that a rear-end collision could end in substantial property damage, severe injury to a motorcyclist, and even fatality; in fact, rear-end collisions tend to be much more fatal for individuals riding on motorcycles than in cars.

Think of how many fender benders you may have been in personally—or how many you may have seen occur between cars. While a tap on a bumper may have meant little in an incident between a car or a truck, in the case of a motorcycle, the motorcyclist could be thrown from their bike. While fatalities are all too common (and sadly, Florida tops the list for motorcycle deaths), serious injuries such as paralysis, traumatic brain injury, fractures, and burns may occur—along with broken bones and a variety of cuts and contusions. Motorcyclists must also be defensive in their driving and wear protective gear such as helmets.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

Motorcyclist Fatalities and Accidents: Florida Leads

Motorcyclists enjoy so many benefits biking through the state of Florida, traveling from the beauty of the Florida Keys all the way through the panhandle; for many, it may seem inconceivable that there are so many motorcyclist fatalities. Unlike many other states, the ride occurs at sea level in many areas and is a straight shot on most roads, whether motorcyclists are enjoying a trip closer to the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the highways are known for their interesting sights and unique beauty, such as the Overseas Highway, which is part of U.S. 1—or the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway ending in St. Augustine. Along with abundant sunshine, Florida is also rich with wildlife, varying landscapes, and history.

Whether you are a visitor or a resident though, understand the added dangers of motorcycling in the state of Florida as it continues to be one of the top areas not only for vacations—but motorcycle accidents too. Lumped in with Texas, California, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, data shows that Florida saw 10,331 motorcycle crashes in 2016. Out of those accidents, 459 resulted in fatalities.

Nearly tying with Texas for the highest number of motorcycle accidents, analysts have been busy trying to figure out why Florida is so dangerous—with traffic incidents on the rise, including hit and runs. Many see the good weather as a reason why there are more accidents and deaths for motorcyclists, simply because they are out more. Lack of helmet laws can certainly be to blame too. Although motorcyclists 20 and under must wear helmets, older riders may leave themselves vulnerable to greater injuries like traumatic brain injuries or death.

With a current population of over 21 million people, Florida roads are busy. If you are a motorist, practice extra caution to help motorcyclists such as keeping a safe distance, checking your blind spots, and doublechecking before making left turns. Motorcyclists should continue to make sure they have high visibility while on the roads, as well as maintaining safe speeds and paying extra attention when turning at intersections.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.

 

Helmet Laws: How Effective Are They on Florida’s Roads?

The motorcycling lifestyle entices many in the US—beckoning them to enjoy fresh air and the outdoor landscape passing by, numerous health benefits, financial savings, and lack of environmental impact on our surroundings. Safety is always a concern though, and especially as Florida makes the headlines time and time again, leading in the nation for motorcycle crashes.

That sense of freedom is part of what entices millions of consumers in the US to purchase and ride motorcycles though. There is also great appeal for many in knowing that they can jump on their bikes and take off at a moment’s notice without worrying about a helmet or other protective gear. It is all about choice—but what about the health consequences? Helmet laws tend to be controversial, and often change. Florida reverted in 2000, easing helmet laws on motorcyclists 21 and over, provided they are carrying the required insurance of $10,000 for medical benefits.

Studies have shown that there tends to be a significant rise in injuries and fatalities in states where helmet laws have been repealed, and other data compiled not long after the law was repealed in Florida showed that ‘the change in Florida’s helmet law increased motorcycle rider deaths.’ Restrictions still in place apply to younger riders, but the numbers still showed increases in injuries for those under 21—with too many still not wearing helmets. The FHSMV also reported that since 2000, fatalities for motorcycle operators age 45 and older have increased 174 percent.

The MSF is very clear about their views on the need for protective head gear in ‘What You Should Know About Motorcycle Helmets’:

“Most sport-type activities have their own suitable protective gear and equipment. Motorcycling is no exception. Every rider and passenger should wear over-the-ankle footwear, long pants, a long-sleeved jacket, full-fingered motorcycle gloves, and a helmet manufactured to comply with DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) standards. Helmets work. Helmet effectiveness has been confirmed by scientific studies, while helmet myths – ‘helmets break necks, block vision and impair hearing’ – have been consistently disproved.”

And while helmets can be very effective for protecting the head from injury, they may do little in the event of a serious accident where so much else can go wrong. Motorcyclists are at a much greater risk for traumatic brain injury though, causing long-lasting repercussions or even cause death. Find out more about TBIs in our recent blog, ‘Motorcycle Accidents: Traumatic Brain Injuries All Too Common.’

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.