Sadly, Florida annually leads the entire nation in the number of motorcycle deaths and injuries according to the statistics provided by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Always a controversial subject, motorcycles are one of those topics that most people have an opinion about and cannot remain neutral – they seem to either love them or hate them. Either way, there are two times during the year where motorcycles and an influx of visitors on motor bikes are prevalent in Florida. The most well known is the annual Biketoberfest motorcycle rally held each fall in Daytona Beach. The second is called Speed Weeks, also in Daytona. Prior to the start of the car racing season in Daytona, motorcycle racing is conducted at the Daytona International Speedway. This event brings in a substantial number of motorcycle enthusiasts from all over the country, although perhaps not as many as seen during the Biketoberfest celebration. As noted in our recent post about recent fatal motorcycle accidents and deaths in the Central Florida area, six biker fatalities over a two day period have once again placed biker safety in the media spotlight and under the “microscope” in regards to the safety issues associated with riding a motorcycle.
National Motorcycle Accident Statistics
There are numerous statistics available regarding motorcycle accidents, but the majority of reports and documentation are actually several years old. However, when thoroughly reviewing the reported numbers one can, in most instances, see clear correlations and patterns from the data.
In the twenty year span from 1997 to the beginning of 2015, deaths from bike crashes across the USA have increased from a low of just over 2,100 fatalities to roughly 4,500 annually. Reaching an all time high of well over 5,000 in 2007 (5,174) and 2008 (5,312), the yearly average now ranges between 4,300 to 4,800 deaths each year. When the annual numbers are studied, one can see that the number of motorcycle deaths has actually more than doubled during this time frame. Most concerning to everyone is that although they account for over fifteen percent (15%) of all traffic fatalities, bike riders actually account for much less than one percent (<1%) of the total miles driven throughout the nation annually.
Perhaps even more disturbing when discussing the national statistics are the following:
1. There exists an eighty percent (80%) chance of injury or death from being in a motorcycle accident, as compared to roughly twenty percent (20%) for riding in a car or an automobile.
2. Due to decreased mortality rates seen in passenger vehicle collisions over the past decade, it is estimated that riding a motorcycle is now 26 times more deadly that riding in a car in the US.
3. Almost one-half (or 50%) of all fatal motorbike fatalities involve just the motorcycle (and are therefor classified as “single vehicle accidents”).
4. Back in the 1970’s over eighty percent (80%) of all deaths from bike crashes were in the age group of 30 years and under thirty years old. This has dramatically dropped to less then thirty percent (30%) in 2014.
5. The estimated monetary cost of a motorcycle fatality is approximately $1.5 million. These estimated costs include medical, legal and court costs, as well as and court costs, emergency services costs, insurance administration costs, property damage, and workplace losses.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics for Florida
The statistics regarding motorbike crashes in Florida are truly scary. As we previously discussed, the State of Florida is perhaps the most dangerous place in the nation to be a pedestrian or ride a bicycle, and the same is true for driving or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle. As documented and reported by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), motorcyclists accounted for almost one in five of all of the motor vehicle fatalities in Florida (an estimated 19%). To put this in proper perspective, keep in mind that motorcyclists comprise approximately only 7% of all of the licensed motorists and drivers licensed in Florida.
Let’s take a look at the Florida motorcycle fatality statistics from 2013 through 2015. It is extremely important to take note that the statistics provided only reflect deaths and fatalities. As bad as these numbers are, the amount of non-fatal injuries from motorcycle accidents far exceed these numbers. Keep in mind that non-fatal injuries from motorbike crashes are often extremely serious due to the lack of protection to the riders of the motorcycle (plus the obvious fact that a car will most often win in a crash with a motorbike!). Whether a motorcycle accident that you may have been involved in results in a fatality or in a non-fatal injury, it is highly recommended that you talk to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney regarding your situation.
Please note that the statistics for 2013 were provided by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Statistics for 2014 and 2015 were released by the GHSA (Governors Highway Safety Association).
– In 2013:
Florida had a total of 467 deaths due to motorbike accidents. The entire USA total was 4,399.
This means that 10.7% of all motorcycle accident deaths in 2013 were in Florida.
– In 2014:
Florida had a total of 450 deaths due to motorbike accidents. The entire USA total was 4,548.
This means that 9.9% of all motorcycle accident deaths in 2013 took place in Florida.
– In 2015:
Florida had a total of 550 deaths due to motorbike accidents. The entire USA total was 4,837.
This means that 11.4% of all motorcycle accident deaths in 2013 occurred in Florida.
To put these numbers in proper perspective, keep in mind that the population of Florida is roughly 20.6 million people as compared to a total of 323.1 million people in the entire United States. So, while Florida’s population is approximately 6.4% of all US residents, between 10% and 11.5% of all bike crash fatalities occur in Florida.
Why is Florida More Dangerous?
Some claim Florida is more dangerous due to the state’s motorcycle helmet laws. Passed back in July of 2000, the helmet law basically gives adult riders (both motorcycles and mopeds) the option of not wearing a safety helmet or protective headgear if they choose not to. Prior to 2000, Florida law required all riders to wear a safety helmet. Since 2000, Florida law allows a motorcycle rider to go without a helmet if the rider is over twenty-one years old and has motorcycle or health insurance with a minimum medical benefit coverage of at least $10,000. The insurance must cover motorcycle accident injuries. A car insurance policy will generally not provide coverage for motorcycle accident injuries, with certain exceptions. Please see our article on Motorcycle Insurance Disputes for more details on this. Florida statutes still require motorcycle riders younger than twenty-one years old to wear helmets.
Yet twenty-eight other states have laws regarding safety helmets that are similar to Florida. Interestingly, nineteen states (plus the District of Columbia) still have laws labeled “universal helmet laws” that require every motorcyclist and passenger to wear a helmet, and three states currently have no motorcycle helmet use law at all (Iowa, New Hampshire & Illinois).
Several other interesting statistics to note come from the 2017 AAA Consumer Pulse Survey that was recently published covering driver safety in all 50 individual states. In regards to motorcyclists in Florida, the report estimated the following:
1. Almost one out of every six motorbike riders in Florida did not have motorcycle insurance (16%).
2. Approximately one out of seven (14%) of motorcyclists do not wear a safety helmet in Florida. However, almost one-third (approximately 32%) of the bikers in Florida do not think that they should be “mandated” to wear a safety helmet by law.
3. Florida motor bike riders also wear the following safety gear:
Face Shield or Glasses: 81%
Protective Jackets: 55%
In the end, many cite the following as the major reasons for the increased danger seen by motorcycle riders in Florida:
1. Car drivers not seeing the biker and failing to yield. In descending order this is followed by careless driving, “other motorist actions” and running through a stop sign by the motorist.
2. The ever increasing number of new residents and tourists coming to the Sunshine State.
3. The growing number of drivers distracted by their smartphones, texting and in-dash entertainment systems.
4. The weather. It may be as simple as this: motorcyclists in Florida drive more frequently (plus more miles) annually than those in other states. The Florida sunshine allows for more bikers to be on the road more often (and for longer rides) than most other states.
Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you sustain a personal injury while you are driving or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle, you may be entitled to have your medical bills and lost wages paid by your insurance company (or by the insurance company of the person that was driving if another vehicle was involved in the accident). At the Law Office of Mark A. Risi, our Orlando personal injury attorneys will go to work for you to obtain the compensation you deserve. Our motorcycle accident lawyers have handled numerous such cases throughout Florida that involved automobiles and motorcycle riders. We would be honored to help you with your case. If you have any questions about Motorcycle Accidents, please feel free to call us today at (407) 423-1313 or contact us online and we will answer any questions that you may have.