Report: Florida Motorcycle Deaths Rose 23 Percent in 2015

New data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) reveals that motorcycle fatalities spiked by nearly a full quarter last year, from 449 deaths in 2014 to 554 deaths in 2015. That’s a 23 percent increase, according to the state’s preliminary data.motorcycle9

Motorcyclists account for almost 20 percent of all auto accident deaths in Florida, even though they only account for 3 percent of all the registered vehicles in the state.

Also troubling is the fact that, according to a recent survey conducted by AAA Consumer Pulse, almost 1 in 6 motorcyclists forego motorcycle insurance. When you consider that the average economic cost of each motorcycle death, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is nearly $1.5 million, we’re talking serious losses not only to individual families, but to communities at-large. That $1.5 million figure factors in medical bills, legal expenses, lost productivity, emergency medical services, insurance bills, workplace losses and property damage. 

Our Miami motorcycle accident lawyers know the issue of required motorcycle helmets is a sensitive one within the riding community. One-third of motorcycle riders surveyed strongly believe they should not be forced to wear a helmet when riding. It’s considered a deeply personal choice, and certainly, it is not one that is going to affect the amount of compensation the rider or surviving family members receive in the event of negligence. However, it’s worth pointing out, as the AAA public policy manager did, that motorcycle fatalities in Florida have more than doubled since the state repealed its law requiring all riders to wear approved helmets.

The NHTSA reports helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths. So in Florida, let’s take the 554 motorcycle accident deaths that happened last year. If we assumed that every single one of those riders was not wearing a helmet (which is not the case, but for the sake of argument), that would mean 205 of them would have survived.

The issue of insurance is also an important one to address because too often, motorcyclists are victims of hit-and-run accidents. In those situations, the only way to recover any sort of compensation is with uninsured motorist coverage. Alternatively, if a motorcyclist is struck by a driver who has insurance but not enough to cover the rider’s losses (and motorcyclists tend to suffer more severe injuries than those inside passenger cars), the only other way to recover is with underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.

Our personal injury lawyers fight hard to obtain the highest level of compensation for our clients, but we can’t help you recover damages from insurance policies that don’t exist. It is so important to maintain adequate insurance, and we usually recommend keeping more than the bare minimum.

This goes not just for Florida residents but all riders planning to travel to Florida at some point this year. That AAA Consumer Pulse study asked riders across the country which motorcycle rallies/ events they plan to attend this year. Of those who responded, 70 percent answered Daytona Bike Week, which runs in March, and 57 percent answered Biketoberfest, also in Daytona.The third most popular was Leesburg Bikefest, to which 27 percent said they planned to attend.

If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.

Additional Resources:

Florida motorcycle fatalities rise 23% last year, May 25, 2016, By Chris Parenteau, New 4 Jax

More Blog Entries:

Texting With a Driver? You Could be Liable. May 23, 2016, Miami Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog

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