Many people in Florida safely enjoy riding motorcycles. However, our many years of experience handling motorcycle accident cases has taught us that motorcycle accidents often occur even though the rider did everything right. The latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are sobering:
- Motorcycle fatalities are increasing and are near their highest level in 35 years.
- During the last 20-year period measured, motorcycle fatalities increased 144%.
- The human tragedy is almost impossible to imagine – 5,172 motorcyclists killed in a single year.
- Motorcyclists account for 14% of all traffic fatalities and 17% of all occupants (driver and passenger) fatalities.
- Motorcycle operators are obviously vulnerable, as their bodies are exposed. The statistics show that motorcycle crashes are 27 times as likely to result in a fatality compared to motor vehicle accidents.
Sadly, Florida leads the nation in total motorcycle riders killed. California, which also enjoys good, year-round weather and has a population nearly double Florida’s (39.7 million versus 21.6 million), had 515 fatalities in the last year measured while Florida had 550.
NHTSA’s statistics suggest some areas where motorcyclists can help improve the odds:
- It is believed 1,872 lives are saved yearly by wearing helmets.
- 32% of fatal motorcycle crashes involve speeding.
- 35% of fatalities occur when a rider was under the influence of alcohol.
In addition to fatal crashes, many motorcycle accidents involve serious injury, again, due to the rider’s vulnerability. NHTSA estimates the annual economic cost of motorcycle injuries and fatalities to be $12.8 billion.
To be clear, the vast majority of motorcycle operators do everything right and simply find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. To our friends in the community who enjoy motorcycle riding, we wish you a Happy National Motorcycle Day. Please continue to stay safe. To our friends who operate cars, trucks, and SUVs, please remember: Look Twice, Save a Life.
This blog was written by Partner Mickey Smith.