With the advent of summer comes the advent of another time-honored and much-loved tradition throughout our country: bringing out your motorcycle. Millions of people across the United States own motorcycles. In fact, there are over four million registered motorcycles in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents and fatalities are a tragic part of our national love affair with motorcycles. Below are some sobering statistics, as well as some helpful reminder tips to minimize your chances of injury if you are a motorcycle rider.
In 2012, the U.S. Governors Highway Safety Association released a report summarizing injuries and fatalities sustained by motorcycle riders in the first nine months of 2011. A copy of the report can be found at http://www.ghsa.org/html/publications/pdf/spotlights/spotlight_motorcycles12.5.pdf. Between January and September, 3,580 motorcyclists across the United States lost their lives during motorcycle accidents. Eighty percent of motorcycle accidents involve serious injuries, according to NHTSA. In Florida, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Volusia, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Broward, Duval, Orange, Pasco, and Brevard counties had the highest rates of fatalities in the year 2010. In 2010, 6,686 motorcyclists were injured, and 350 lost their lives, in Florida. http://www.ridesmartflorida.com/dataandstatistics.htm. The Miami motorcycle accident lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano are all too familiar with these statistics, as we have represented many individuals injured as a result of motorcycle accidents.
A review of recent news stories in Florida is a further, and more personal, reminder of the dangers associated with riding a motorcycle:
In the early morning hours of March 10, 2013, a car crossed the center lane of Interstate 4 in Sanford and collided with the motorcycle driven by Keenan Huff. Keenan Huff was then thrown from his motorcycle and was run over by a van. On April 9, 2013, a Palm Bay man was killed while riding his motorcycle. A car attempted to cross U.S. 192 directly in the path of William Mahlmeister, the motorcyclist, and he collided directly with the car.
In a non-fatal motorcycle accident, injuries sustained are often extremely severe. Traumatic brain injuries are common, sometimes even if the rider was wearing a helmet. Such injuries are typically as a result of the head striking pavement or other solid objects with blunt force. Road rash is another common injury, which results from a rider’s body scraping along pavement, often underneath the weight of his or her motorcycle. Road rash can lead to permanent disfigurement and nerve damage. Broken bones, internal bleeding, chest injuries, and burns also frequently occur.
As horrific as these injuries are, there are several things a motorcyclist can do to minimize risks. Always wear protective headgear and clothing, even in our hot, humid Florida weather. Most motorcyclists do not need to be reminded of this, but always keep your motorcycle in good condition. Take it easy; take breaks as often as you need to in order to prevent fatigue. Do not operate a motorcycle after you have consumed any type of intoxicating substance, including alcohol and prescription drugs. Even if you may be legal to drive, doing so is simply a poor decision. This is illustrated by the fact that, according to NHTSA, almost half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve alcohol. Keep your riding skills polished. If it has been awhile since you have ridden, take a refresher course. Many training institutes around the Miami area offer various levels of classes for you to choose from.
If you or someone you love has suffered these or other types of injuries in a motorcycle accident in the Miami area, the motorcycle accident attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano can help you recover monetary compensation. We can be reached twenty-four hours a day at (888) 499-9700 or 305-595-2400.