- Practice Areas
With Florida’s warm and sunny weather, it’s no surprise that many residents choose to ride motorcycles. In 2020 there were an estimated 620,077 registered motorcyclists in Florida. Unfortunately, the lack of protection on motorcycles makes them more dangerous in the case of an accident. Without airbags and the metal frame of a car, motorcyclists and their passengers are more exposed to elements and therefore have a high risk of injury. Additionally, the small size of motorcycles makes them susceptible to being in another driver’s blind spot.
Due to the high number of motorcycle accidents in the country, there is plenty of data to analyze. In addition to the total number of motorcycle accidents, we examined factors including injury type, helmet use, county, and how Florida compares to the rest of the country.
As shown in the graph below, motorcycle accidents and injuries decreased between 2018-2020, however the number of fatal motorcycle accidents increased slightly over the 3 year period. That means that the percentage of motorcycle accidents where a fatality occurred increased.
According to motorcycle accident data from 2020, motorcycle drivers sustained far more injuries and fatalities than passengers. This makes sense because not all motorcycle accidents involve a passenger. The graph also shows that non-incapacitating injuries were the most common, for both drivers and passengers.
Because Florida is known as one of the most dangerous states for motorcyclists, we wanted to take a closer look at the breakdown of accidents per county.
Helmets that are approved by the Department of Transportation, referred to as DOT-Compliant helmets, are recommended for all motorcyclists. Helmets that are approved will have a sticker on the back, saying “DOT” as well as the manufacturer and/or model number.
The fit of the helmet is extremely important for providing proper protection. Additional safety gear like a thick jacket, pants, boots and gloves can also help prevent injuries in the case of a crash.
In addition to the data shown on the graph, there were 13 fatal motorcycle accidents where a non-DOT Compliant helmet was used, and 8 fatal accidents where helmet use was not specified.
According to the data, motorcycle passengers who were involved in an accident were less likely to be wearing a helmet than drivers. Not shown are 2 fatalities where a passenger had a non-DOT compliant helmet, and 3 passenger fatalities where helmet use was not specified.
In 2019, of the fatal motorcycle accidents where helmet use was known, the following table shows what percentage of fatalities were unhelmeted. Surprisingly, Florida isn’t in the top ten. 52% of motorcycle fatalities in Florida did not wear a helmet, which is tied for 13th place.
|Rank||State||# Fatalities||% of Fatalities Who Were Unhelmeted|
|30||District of Columbia||3||33%|
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects data for all reported traffic accidents in the United States. According to their data, Florida had the highest number of motorcycle rider fatalities in 2019, as shown on the graph below.
When it comes to motorcycle fatalities where the driver was under the influence of alcohol, Rhode Island had the highest percentage with 64% in 2019. Similarly to the helmet data, Florida is farther down the list than may be expected with their high number of fatal crashes. Florida is tied for 32nd place with 27% of fatal accidents involving an intoxicated driver.
|Rank||State||Total # Fatalities||BAC .08+||% of Fatalities with BAC .08+|
|32||District of Columbia||3||1||27%|
When operating a motor vehicle, no matter what kind, it is important to take responsibility for your own safety. Even if you follow all rules of the road, there are plenty of unforeseen obstacles that may require a fast response. Use the following safety tips to reduce your risk of an accident.
As a motorcyclist, it’s important to remember that you are not as visible as other drivers.
As a driver, it’s important to be aware of other vehicles around you.
If you are injured in a Florida motorcycle crash, contact the St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorneys at Salter, Healy, Rivera and Heptner.