According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Florida is the leading state across the nation in motorcyclist fatalities and injuries. In fact, in 2016, there were 28 times more motorcyclist deaths than that of other motorists.
To help keep all drivers and passengers safe, here are some of the most common causes for motorcycle accidents in Florida—and how you can help avoid them.
1. Lane Splitting
Lane splitting occurs when motorcyclists choose to ride between two separate lanes, and it’s most common when they’re trying to avoid traffic by passing other vehicles. Unfortunately, lane splitting is also very dangerous.
If you are a driver of a regular motor vehicle, be mindful that a motorcycle may be attempting to go around the congestion, so it’s important to stay alert, even if you’re not breaking any laws. If you are a motorcyclist, be mindful that your risk for an accident is much higher when splitting lanes. The safest option is to stay in one lane and be patient when traffic congestion occurs—the consequences could otherwise be deadly.
2. Other Motorists Making Left Turns
3. Being in Other Drivers’ Blind Spots
Every driver has blind spots. But because motorcycles are typically much smaller than most motor vehicles on the road, it’s not hard for them to get lost in any given driver’s blind spots while on the road.
As a motorcyclist, it’s important to pass other vehicles with caution, as well as make yourself as visible as possible (especially at night). As a regular motorist, remember to be mindful of smaller vehicles and to always check blind spots well before getting into another lane.
4. Being Impaired While Riding
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a huge contributor to the leading cause of accidents for all types of motor vehicle. But many statistics have proven that motorcyclists contribute to a significantly higher percentage of these collisions than any other type of driver.
Whether you’re a motorcyclist or other motor vehicle driver, do not attempt to drive while impaired. There are many alternatives to driving under the influence, including:
- - Appointing a designated driver
- - Using a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft
- - Calling a friend or family member to pick you up
- - Using public transportation, such as buses or subways
- - Taking advantage of a 'designated driver' car service provider
- - Walking or using a pedicab service
5. Driving in Unsafe Road Conditions
Even for most motor vehicle drivers, unexpected obstacles on the road—like wet pavement, potholes, stray animals and more—can be very dangerous. Add to the equation a two-wheeled structure that’s designed without seatbelts and with much less stability than most vehicles on the road, and you have an even higher risk for danger.
If you are a motorcyclist, ensure that you are going safe speeds to be able to see potential hazards on the road well before you face them head on. As a motor vehicle driver, try to leave additional space around motorcyclists who may potentially be affected by unsafe road conditions.
What to Do If You’re Involved in a Motorcycle Accident
There is much we can do as drivers to help prevent accidents from happening. However, in high-traffic areas like South Florida, accidents can happen anyway.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, contact The Law Firm of Cohen & Cohen today. As experienced motorcycle accident attorneys, our team is here to help you know what your best next steps would be. Schedule your free consultation with us today.