Car and motorcycle collisions are not uncommon. We hear, see in the news, and even witness some of them. In many big cities, four-wheelers share the same road and lanes as two-wheelers. Florida is a big city with a complex road network, including interstate and highway road networks. Therefore, road safety must be taken seriously by all state inhabitants.
It is easy for a collision between cars and motorcycles since the road is a shared facility among both road users. However, motorcycles are more at risk in a motorcycle/car collision. By design, motorbikes, unlike cars, are exposed. Motorcycles have no covering or doors to protect riders. While a motorcycle ride is exhilarating, this same motorbike design places its riders at great risk if an accident happens.
Special Motorcycle Statistics in Florida
- The annual motorcycle fatalities observed in Florida have more than doubled over the past twenty years.
- Motorcycles represent just 3% of the registered motor vehicles and account for less than 1% of the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on Florida roadways.
- During the past five years, only 2% of all Florida traffic crashes involved a motorcycle. Despite these low figures, motorcycles continue to be involved in a disproportionate number of fatal crashes, with motorcycle fatalities representing nearly 17% of all traffic crash deaths in Florida during the most recent five-year period.
- From 2015 to 2020, motorcycle fatalities and serious injuries tended to occur with the greatest frequency during the spring and fall.
- From 2015 to 2020, motorcycle fatalities and serious injuries occurred more frequently on weekends than weekdays.
Causes of Motorcycle/Car Collision
- Blind Spot: Even with the rare view and side mirrors, the driver may not be able to get a full view. Intersections account for the highest location for accidents involving cars and motorcycles due to blind spots.
- Aggressive Driving: Aggressive driving can lead to motorcycle/car accidents. A motorist may feel threatened by the other. The road is a shared facility by all road users and must be treated as such. No motorist has more right to the road than the other. Aggressive driving can be shown when one or both motorist refuses to share the road, allow another motorist to change lanes, or prevent them from driving successfully.
- Failure to yield right of way: Failure to yield right of way is a leading cause of motorcycle/car collision.
- Impatience and miscalculation: Sometimes, motorcycle riders attempt to beat an oncoming car at top speed and miscalculate the speed and proximity of the car. Some riders and their passengers are not lucky enough to escape a dreadful collision which can lead to serious injuries and complications that may have a lifetime impact.
- Driver Distraction: Driver distracting habits like rubbernecking and texting can lead to serious injuries. Where a car and motorcycle collide, the motorcycle rider and passenger are usually at greater risk.
- DUI: Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance can lead to a fatal end. Substances like alcohol or hard drugs can affect the cognitive ability of drivers and riders. It can create illusions, make close objects seem distant, tamper with vision and cause hallucinations. A driver should not maneuver a vehicle in this state, and such should be dissuaded through effective awareness campaigns, police checks, and similar proactive measures.
- Over speeding: Speed accounts for many crashes. Florida has a standard speed limit for all vehicles. The maximum speed limit is 55mph with variations. For example, the appropriate speed limit in business and residential areas is 30mph and 20mph in schools.
- Negligence: Negligence on the part of a rider or driver can lead to a collision. Negligence can be displayed in several ways, for example, where a driver disobeys a traffic light and runs into a rider or where a rider ignores fixing a problem in their bike, which causes them to slam into an oncoming vehicle or the very common example of drunk driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says, “Your ability to operate a motorcycle — or any vehicle — is reduced anytime you drink or get high. Drugs, whether legally prescribed or illegal, threaten you, your passenger, and others on the road. When it comes to alcohol, even a small amount of alcohol reduces brain function and impairs thinking to reason, and muscle coordination.”
Negative Effects of Alcohol on a Driver’s Ability
- A BAC as low as 0.02% has measurable effects on the skills necessary for driving (i.e., impaired visual functions and the ability to multitask).
- A BAC greater than 0.5% results in more extreme impairment (e.g., affecting concentration, short-term memory, perception, speed control, information processing, ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately, vehicle control, attention, and visual and auditory processing).
- Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher).
- Even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability. In 2019, there were 1,775 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where a driver had a BAC of .01 to .07 g/dL.
How Drivers and Riders Can Help to Reduce Frequent Motorcycle/Car Collision
- Respecting and yielding right of way: Drivers must yield right of way where and when necessary. Road users must think not only about themselves but about other road users as well. The road is not for a racing competition because lives are at stake.
- Respecting road and traffic regulations: Deciding to abide by road traffic regulations is a decision to put your safety first and those of other road users.
- Patience: Sometimes, road users are impatient when there is slight traffic congestion. It is particularly true of motorcycles who find a few seconds of delay unbearable and find every shortcut to maneuver past the car.
- Maintaining an appropriate speed limit.
- Promptly fixing mechanical problems: Mechanical issues like an unresponsive brake must be given priority.
- Paying full attention: When you hit the road as a driver or motorist, you must watch carefully. Avoid anything that can divide attention. Car and radio settings should be adjusted before hitting the highway.
- Remembering the road is a shared facility: The highway is a shared facility, and road users must show mutual respect.
- Looking well and double-checking: Objects and motorcycles may be closer than they seem from the side mirror. Also, objects previously not there or were concealed can suddenly appear, giving the rider or driver little time to decide.
- Leaving enough space: This is where the two-second rule may become useful. There should be at least two seconds of driving between yourself and the car in front of you. Where the weather and road conditions are unfavorable, you should increase your following time.
- Avoiding driving under the influence
- Staying in your lane (Avoid unnecessary change of lane)
- Checking your blind spots
What St. Petersburg is Doing to Improve Road Safety
As part of Pinellas county, St. Petersburg has adopted the Safe Street Pinellas. It is a collaborative effort to create a safe transportation system for everyone. The initiative hopes to prevent a death that may result from using the roads in Pinellas County. The safe street Pinellas launched vision zero. Vision Zero has premised on the philosophy that loss of life is not an acceptable price for mobility. Vision Zero exists to eliminate roadway deaths and severe injuries for all users of the transportation system with a proactive, preventive approach. It does this in six ways
- Reframe traffic deaths as preventable
- Integrate human failing into the approach
- Focuses on preventing fatal and severe crashes rather than eliminating all crashes
- It aims to establish safe systems rather than relying on individual responsibility
- Applies data-driven decision making
- Establishes road safety as a social equity issue
Whether or not to see a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in St Petersburg
Your attorney will serve as your legal representative in court and can help you adequately prepare for trial. In addition, your attorney will act as your intermediary and legal representative with the other driver involved in the crash and their insurance company. Contact the Coleman Law Group today for a free case evaluation!