The rate of motorcycle accidents causing injury or death rose steadily over the last decade. In 2008, over 8,500 bikers were injured and more than 500 were killed in Florida motorcycle accidents. However, thanks to the state’s increased focus on motorcycle safety, Tampa motorcycle accident attorneys and others are noting sharp declines in the number of bikers killed or injured on Florida roads.
One year after the state implemented its safety campaign, fatal motorcycle crashes dropped by 24 percent and accidents causing injury fell by 12.7 percent.
Improving roadway safety is everyone’s responsibility. There are some simple steps both drivers and bikers can take to prevent accidents and reduce the risk of serious injury or death.
Tips for Drivers
In most accidents between a passenger vehicle and a motorcycle, the driver, not the biker, is to blame. Often, accidents occur because drivers don’t “see” the motorcyclist the same as they would a passenger vehicle.
Drivers need to always be on the lookout for motorcycles, understanding that a motorcycle’s small size means bikers can easily be hidden in a car’s blind spot. A bike’s relatively small stature may also make it look farther away than it actually is.
Drivers also need to understand that motorcycles cannot stop as quickly as cars, especially on slippery roads. Leave extra following distance when travelling behind a motorcycle. Also, many bikers reduce speed by decelerating or shifting gears, so don’t count on brake lights to tell you when to slow down.
Tips for Bikers
The most important thing a biker can do to prevent a fatal motorcycle accident is to wear a helmet. Nearly half of all Florida bikers who died in 2009 were not wearing helmets.
Bikers also need to be vigilant. Understand that drivers may not always recognize motorcycles, and ride accordingly. Motorcyclists should also be proactive in watching out for obstacles and road hazards – it’s much easier to adjust if you know what’s coming.
Finally, motorcyclists need to be aware of their own experience levels. Choose rides that are safe, and gradually increase the difficulty as you get better at riding.
Together, we can help improve safety for everyone on the road. If you do become injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, know that you have rights. Contact a Tampa personal injury attorney who can help you understand your options.
Source: Motorcycle Safety Foundation, “Ten Things All Car & Truck Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles.”
Posted in Motorcycle Accidents on Monday, December 12, 2011.