January 15, 2014

Motorcycle Accidents in Florida

Fatal Motorcycle Accident on Florida Turnpike

On January 5, 2014, the Palm Beach Post reported that 64-year-old Joseph Comparetto died due to a motorcycle collision. Comparetto, a resident of Georgia, and Hagerty, a resident of Davie, Florida, were headed north on Florida's Turnpike. Comparetto was driving in front of Hagerty when he attempted to slow down due to upcoming traffic. While slowing down, Hagerty collided with Comparetto causing Comparetto to be thrown from his Harley into another lane where he was hit by a car and subsequently killed.

Motorcycle Safety

It is not surprising that Florida's great beaches and beautiful scenery attract many who are interested in riding motorcycles. Anyone planning to become a motorcycle rider in the state of Florida must complete a program meant to make that future rider aware of the importance of safety. This program, the Florida Rider Training Program ("FRTP"), includes a Basic Rider Course, which is 15 hours long and demonstrates and teaches important skills such as cornering, starting, turning, stopping, etc.

The statistics depicted by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") is the reason why Florida imposes the Basic Rider Course because it is an attempt to lower the amount of fatalities and injuries caused by accidents involving motorcycles. The NHTSA reports that 1 out of 10 motor vehicle accidents that involves the death of one or more persons involves a motorcycle. Additionally, in 2011, the NHTSA reported that over 80,000 motorcycle drivers suffered injuries due to accidents involving motorcycles.

Motorcycle Helmet Law in Florida

Currently, 30 states do not follow a stringent helmet law. Florida happens to be one of those states. Generally, Florida's motorcycle helmet law requires all riders to wear one. However, riders over the age of 21 with medical insurance of $10,000.00 or more need not wear a helmet. It is however required that all drivers or riders of any age wear eye gear.

Although Florida's helmet law doesn't require the use of a helmet under certain circumstances, our firm recommends that all riders and drivers wear one whenever on a bike. After the imposition of this non-strict helmet law, fatalities that occurred due to motorcycle accidents increased by more than 80%. The NHTSA reported that almost 2000 lives were saved during motorcycle accidents because the drivers and/or riders were wearing helmets. About 800 lives could have survived had those drivers and/or riders worn helmets.

Based on the statistics, it is not surprising that the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") is pressuring that states make helmet laws more stringent. It is our hope that the law becomes stricter in an attempt to save lives.

In Many Cases, The Motorcyclist is Not at Fault

The sad truth is that in many of these accidents the motorcyclist is not the negligent party. The person responsible may be a motorist who was driving while checking their emails, texting or any other bad habit that falls under distracted driving. A motorcycle accident could also be caused by a car trying to catch the light, not yield the right-of-way or simply not seeing the motorcyclist on the road. If you or a loved one were involved in a motorcycle accident and have questions about the incident or the law, you can speak to one of our Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys and they will gladly answer your questions at no cost.