Kibbey Wagner, PLLC | November 10, 2022 | Motorcycle Accidents
The Sunshine State boasts some of the country’s most scenic roads for motorcycle enthusiasts. With miles of coastline and year-round sun, thousands of motorcyclists take to Florida roads every year.
Unfortunately, when it comes to traffic accidents, motorcycles are also some of the most dangerous vehicles to operate. Due to the exposed nature of riders and limited safety elements, even a minor motorcycle collision can result in severe consequences, including permanent injury and even death.
If you ride a motorcycle in Port St. Lucie, you should know about motorcycle safety and how you can prevent a tragic accident.
Florida Motorcycle Accident Statistics
In 2021, there were 645,012 registered motorcycles in Florida — the second highest in the country.
According to traffic data compiled by the Florida Department of Highway Safety, in 2020, there were roughly 8,045 motorcycle accidents and 550 motorcycle-related fatalities across the state.
The state also makes public motorcycle accident statistics available via its online crash dashboard. For the year 2021, there were 118 motorcycle accidents in St. Lucie County, resulting in 8 fatalities.
Although motorcycles only make up about 5% of statewide traffic collisions, riders account for nearly 17% of all traffic fatalities. Even though motorcycle wrecks aren’t as common as car crashes, these accidents are more likely to result in severe injuries and death.
Contributing Factors for Motorcycle Crashes
Traffic accidents often happen when you least expect them. Negligence is a key factor that contributes to motorcycle collisions. Whenever motorists engage in negligent behavior, they risk causing injury to exposed riders.
Some common factors that contribute to motorcycle crashes include:
- Inclement Florida weather
- Poor road conditions
- Distracted drivers
- Reckless driving
- Speeding and moving violations
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- DUI or DWI
Similar to cars and other vehicles, motorcycles vary significantly in size, engine power, and safety features. When it comes to additional contributing factors for accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board reports the following elements that can increase or decrease the likelihood of a motorcycle crash:
- Engine displacement
- Bike visibility
- Braking technology
- Headlight placement
Motorcycles are some of the smallest vehicles on Florida roadways. Environmental conditions, negligent driving, and poor safety elements can all contribute to an accident. Though it’s never possible to predict when a crash will happen, motorcyclists can take the necessary precautions to protect themselves by adhering to recommended safety standards and following the rules of the road.
Preventing Motorcycle Fatalities in Port St. Lucie, Florida
Helmets are one of the most critical safety elements that protect riders whenever they’re involved in a crash. According to the CDC, over 5,500 motorcyclists died, and more than 180,000 were hospitalized for injuries in 2020.
Additional figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that 2020 saw the most motorcycle fatalities nationwide since 1975.
Unfortunately, Florida has some of the most relaxed helmet laws in the country. Under current statutes, helmet use is only mandatory for riders under 21. These laws allow riders 21 and over to operate a motorcycle without a helmet whenever they meet minimum insurance coverage.
According to research, motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of fatalities by 37% for riders and 41% for passengers. As such, it’s critical for anyone who rides in Port St. Lucie to wear a Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet whenever they operate a motorcycle.
Additionally, the use of protective clothing, padding, and other safety gear can significantly reduce external and internal injuries during a crash, such as:
- Road rash
- Bone fractures and breaks
- Spinal cord injuries
Riding a motorcycle is dangerous, but caution and awareness can lower the risk of severe injury and death. If you ride a bike anywhere in Florida, you must engage in safe riding, maintain your vehicle, follow traffic laws, and wear the proper protective equipment.