Most motorcyclists are well aware that their preferred vehicles aren’t the safest option on the market. However, even well-informed riders often underestimate the risks they face on Florida roads. Florida is the single deadliest state for motorcyclists in the United States, beating out states with larger populations like Texas and California.
It is possible to safely ride your motorbike in Florida, but you must be prepared for the risks you face. Here’s what you need to know about the statistics of motorcycle accidents in Florida, the biggest risks you’ll experience, and what you should do if you get in an accident while riding.
Florida’s Concerning Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, Florida saw 564 fatal motorcycle crashes. This is both the highest fatality rate numerically and by population nationwide. In comparison, California saw only 525 fatalities that year, despite having nearly double the residents of Florida. In fact, Florida’s crashes accounted for more than 10% of all motorcycle fatalities in the U.S.
That’s not the only statistic that should concern Florida motorcyclists, either. Crashes, injuries, and fatalities have increased since 2020. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department (FLHSMV), the fatality rate increased by 12.5% from 2020 to 2021. Incapacitating or disabling injuries increased by 5.34%, and the general injury rate increased by 7.48% over the same time. This tracks with a general increase in the accident rates on Florida roads overall.
4 Biggest Risks Faced by Florida Motorcyclists
The single greatest risk any motorcycle rider faces is other drivers. Motorcycles are much smaller than any other vehicle on major roads, which makes them hard to spot. Inattentive drivers are partially or fully responsible for most of the multiple-vehicle motorcycle accidents in Florida annually.
The risks posed by other drivers can be broken down into four main categories:
- Intersections: According to the NHTSA, a third of all fatal motorcycle accidents occur in intersections. Considering how little time motorists spend at intersections, this is a significantly higher percentage than it appears. Other drivers can blow through stoplights, turn left in front of motorcyclists who can’t stop in time, and otherwise interrupt or cut off riders in potentially deadly ways.
- Passing lanes: Motorcycles are typically small enough to get lost in drivers’ blind spots. While trucks and cars are responsible for double-checking that a passing lane is empty before changing lanes, many people don’t bother. This can cause motorcyclists to get cut off or forced off the road, leading to serious injuries at best.
- Heavy traffic: Crowded roads and traffic jams combine the worst elements of intersections and drivers’ blind spots into one high-risk situation. Motorcycle riders can be missed in high-traffic situations, leading other drivers to hit them while trying to maneuver toward an exit.
- Low-visibility conditions: 43% of fatal motorcycle accidents occur between dusk and dawn. These low-light hours make it even harder for drivers to spot motorcyclists, leading to more crashes.
Riders can take certain precautions to make fatal accidents less likely, such as wearing helmets and safety equipment, always driving sober, and avoiding riding after dark. However, you can be the best rider in the world and still be hit by a distracted or drunk driver. If you ride regularly, understanding how to respond after a crash is in your best interest.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
A motorcycle crash is always serious, no matter what causes it. If you get in an accident while riding, here’s how to respond.
- Check yourself for serious injuries. Motorcycle accidents can lead to many problems, including broken limbs, paralysis, and serious head injuries. Check whether you can move all your limbs before doing anything else.
- Get to safety. If necessary and you can safely do so, get out of the road and away from traffic. The last thing you want is to get hit by another car. However, if you are heavily injured, it may be better to stay in one place.
- Call 911 and get medical help. As soon as you can, call 911 for emergency medical care. It’s important to do this even if you think you’re fine. Some injuries, like whiplash and brain bleeds, may not be obvious right away. Additionally, the emergency response will include the police, who can help direct traffic and take statements that will be important for your insurance claim.
- Exchange insurance. If you’re awake after the accident and the other driver is present, exchange insurance details. If not, ask the police to help you get the other driver’s insurance information.
- Consult with an attorney. Once you are safe and have received the necessary medical care, your next step should be to speak to a personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer will help you handle insurance and liability concerns so you can focus on recovering.
- File a claim. With your lawyer’s help, put together a claim and file it with the other driver’s insurance provider. Ideally, the insurer will accept your claim, and your lawyer will negotiate a settlement that covers your losses from the accident.
- Consider taking legal action. If your claim is denied, your lawyer will advise you about filing a lawsuit against the other driver to seek full compensation for your losses.
Speak to the Experts at the Law Offices of Gomez & Gomez
Florida is the most dangerous state in the country for motorcycle riders, and it’s only getting worse. If you’ve been hurt in an accident while riding, you may be able to hold the other driver accountable for hurting you. At the Law Offices of Gomez & Gomez, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience representing clients who have suffered serious injuries in traffic accidents. We are available to represent you and pursue the best possible settlement for your claim. Learn more by scheduling your consultation today.