Daytona Bike Week Highlights Florida Motorcycle Perils
Gregg Hollander | February 10, 2014 | Personal Injury
Hundreds of thousands of motorcycles are roaring into Florida from across the country, revved up for the annual Daytona Bike Week festival held in Daytona Beach.
Boca Raton motorcycle injury lawyers know that the 10-day festival is slated to be even more popular than in years past, with an estimated 600,000 riders expected to attend. In fact, it’s the No. 1 biker destination in the country annually, and many take the opportunity to ride through the sunshine state in the weeks before and after the annual trek.
Florida welcomes each of these guests, and we encourage all car and truck drivers to exercise additional caution as we anticipate the rush of two-wheeled vehicles throughout the state.
The need for caution is emphasized by the most recent motorcycle fatality report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. The agency reports that Florida ranked second only to Texas for the most motorcycle fatalities in 2011 with a total of 426. Texas had 441 that same year, despite having 26 million people to Florida’s 19 million.
That means per capita, we’re seeing far more crashes than any other state in the country. This time of year, particularly with a series of bike week-type events held throughout the state, we tend to see a spike. It’s worth noting that while overall motor vehicle crashes are on the decline, according to the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities have actually increased by 2 percent over the last year.
About one-third of those incidents involved a motorcycle driver with a blood-alcohol content measured at 0.08 percent or above. That means the majority of riders killed in motorcycle accidents were not impaired. In these cases, it is very often the other driver who caused the crash, either as a result of being intoxicated, drowsy, inattentive, reckless or simply careless.
A recent example of this occurred just outside of Tampa, where the Tampa Bay Times reported a 54-year-old Wesley Chapel man was killed after being struck by a car driven by a 34-year-old from the same city. The car driver was making a left hand turn into an intersection when he struck the front end of the victim’s motorcycle, ejecting him from the bike. The rider was pronounced dead at the scene.
Most motorcycle riders are well aware of the dangers they face every time they get on that bike, which is why they are usually careful to drive defensively.
Considering that so many riders attend Daytona Beach Bike Week every year, it’s a wonder the number of injuries and fatalities aren’t higher. Over the last few years, motorcycle-related deaths surrounding the event have ranged from four to sometimes more than a dozen. Still, even one death or serious injury is too many.
We expect the arctic chill up north will bring even more riders, so defensive driving will be imperative.
Doing so, according to the NHTSA, involves the following:
- Avoid tailgating, riding between lanes of slow or stopped traffic and use signals when appropriate.
- Use extra caution at intersections, as this is where 7 out of 10 motorcycle-vehicle crashes occur.
- Check rear view mirrors every time you prepare to stop or change lanes.
- Carefully watch the road surfaces ahead, and be prepared for problems or hazards.
If you have been injured in a Florida motorcycle accident, contact The Hollander Law Firm today toll free at (561) 347-7770.