South Florida Motorcycle Accidents a Summer Risk

Preliminary data from the Governors Highway Safety Association indicates that in the first part of 2013, the number of motorcycle deaths declined significantly, both in Florida and across the U.S. singlebike

Still, officials caution against declaring a victory when it comes to the risks of motorcycle collisions, which have increased steadily since the mid-1990s. Motorcycle accident lawyers in Fort Myers understand that 2013 wasn’t so much a great year as 2012 was a horrible year. While 2013 showed about the same number of fatal motorcycle crashes as 2011, there was a significant spike in 2012, mainly attributed to unusually warm weather.

From January through September 2011, there were 3,760 motorcycle deaths nationally. During the same time in 2012, there were 4,046 motorcycle fatalities nationwide – a 7.6 increase. Early figures from the same time in 2013 indicate 3,753 motorcycle deaths nationally – a reduction of 7.2 percent. If the 2013 figures bear out in the final count, they would be more significant than the 3 percent drop estimated by the National Safety Counsel and the 3.7 percent dip reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In Florida during the first nine months of the year, officials reported 326 motorcycle deaths in 2012, versus 303 in 2013, a decrease of 7 percent, putting us right on par with the national numbers.

From 1997 to 2008, motorcycle deaths nationally more than doubled. There was a slight drop in 2009, but the following year brought yet another increase.

Study authors, who released their report for May’s Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, point to weather as being a key factor in the sudden rise in 2012. There was a mild winter and an unusually warm spring, drawing more riders out of their winter hibernation. Then in 2013, the winter was fairly mild, but by summer,  was once again sweltering. In fact, June and July 2013 were among the hottest on record in many parts of the country, making motorcycle rides not as enjoyable.

Researchers also pointed to the economic factor. Specifically, high gasoline prices in 2012 may have encouraged more people to commute by motorcycle, rather than take larger vehicles, which tend to be less fuel-efficient.

Florida was one of 35 states that reported a decline in motorcycle crash deaths in 2013. Thirteen others reported an increase, and in two states, there was no change reported.

Despite this decline, Florida did climb to the No. 2 spot in terms of the state with the most motorcycle deaths in the first part of 2013. Texas reported 361 during that time, Florida 303 and California 299. Previously, California had held the No. 2 spot.

It’s not a distinction we’d like to keep.

Unfortunately,  evidence suggests we’re on track for another uptick this year. Just recently in Bonita Springs, a 45-year-old motorcyclist was killed after crashing his bike near the intersection of Hickory Boulevard and Bonita Beach Road. Authorities say he missed a sharp curve and slammed into a bus stop. In Sarasota, a 66-year-old Naples man was critically injured after colliding with a truck on I-75. In Fort Myers, a 57-year-old Cape Coral man remains hospitalized following a crash a month earlier in which he struck a pedestrian who tried to cross the road outside the marked crosswalk. The pedestrian was killed. The motorcyclist was ejected from the bike, which traveled on before striking a truck. The driver of that vehicle suffered minor injuries.

Motorcycle riders are six times more likely to be killed in a crash than those in passenger vehicles, the GHSA reported.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.

Additional Resources:

Motorcycle Traffic Fatalities by State, 2013 Preliminary Data, May 2014, Governors Highway Safety Association

More Blog Entries:

Proposal Aims to Reduce Cape Coral DUI Accidents, April 24, 2014, Fort Myers Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog