Biker News

Number of Florida motorcycle deaths up 30 percent - continues to lead nation

 Thursday, April 06, 2017

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Florida has the most motorcycle crash fatalities in the nation, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the most recent crash data, Florida saw a 30 percent increase, making 2015 the highest on record.

Motorcyclists accounted for one-fifth (20 percent) of motor vehicle fatalities, yet motorcycles account for just 3 percent of registered vehicles. In 2015, 606 people died and 9,045 were injured in motorcycle crashes on Florida roads.

Miami-Dade led the state in 2015 with 67 deaths. Lee County tied for sixth with Orange County with 26 deaths.

“Time and time again, the effectiveness of motorcycle helmets has been proven through scientific study,” said Karen Morgan, public policy manager, AAA-The Auto Club Group. “AAA strongly supports a universal helmet law in Florida.”

According to an AAA Consumer Pulse survey, the majority (83 percent) of motorcyclists claim to wear a helmet when they ride. But according to a motorcycle helmet usage report, only 47 percent of riders in Florida were observed wearing a helmet while riding.

Motorcycle crashes are costly, yet according to the survey, 1 in 7 motorcyclists (15 percent) do not have motorcycle insurance. According to the Florida Department of Health, hospital charges for motorcyclists — treated in a hospital due to a traffic crash — totaled $675,674,964. The average cost for a motorcyclist involved in a traffic crash, who was then admitted to the hospital, was $83,676.

AAA encourages drivers and motorcyclists not to drive impaired and to follow these safety tips:

• Respect motorcycle riders. Motorcycles have the same privileges as an automobile.

• Actively look for motorcycles in traffic.

• Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and motorcyclists. Uneven terrain, wet roads and heavy traffic often require a motorcycle rider to react and maneuver differently than automobiles.

• Take extra caution when making a left-hand turn, because most automobile-versus-motorcycle crashes occur during left-hand turns.

• Don’t drive distracted.

• Wear helmets that meet DOT compliance standards, eyewear, closed-toe footwear and protective clothing. This reduces your risk of injury or death in a crash.

• Keep headlights, marker and taillights on at dusk and dark, or rainy weather. Wear bright clothing or put reflective strips on your bike to be more. Avoid being in the blind spots of cars and trucks by following three to four seconds behind the vehicle in front of you.

• Avoid weaving between lanes. Use your signals and stick to the speed limit.

• Get proper training. Completing a safety course can not only make you a better rider, but save you money on your insurance.

The AAA Consumer Pulse Survey was conducted online among motorcycle owners living in Florida from Feb. 17–March 7. A total of 200 residents completed the survey. The survey has a margin of error of 6.9 percentage points. ¦

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