The largest motorcycle event in the world, drawing more than 500,000 patrons, primarily takes place in Daytona Beach, Florida. Florida is too beautiful for Daytona to contain all those visitors, though. This often means that riders will venture out, far from the eastern coast city in search of all that Florida offers.
The annual event is a big deal all around Florida and comes with benefits for the local economy. Whether you own a leather shop on Main Street, a restaurant in Orlando, or just experience the trickledown effect of millions of dollars bursting into our local economy, everybody wins in some way.
Nonetheless, 500,000 riders arriving into the relatively small Central Florida area within a span of 10 days comes with its drawbacks, one of which is the rise in motor vehicle accident injuries and deaths. With so many people cruising Florida roads all at once, there are sure to be more than average.
Florida tends to be a dangerous place for motorcycle riders as it stands already. Whether or not events like Bike Week and Biketoberfest (the event’s Fall cousin) add to the elevated statistics is unclear, but what is clear is that Florida leads the nation in motorcycle rider fatalities.
According to the most recent statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, Florida had in 2013. This number one position is taken by California, but mostly due to the sheer size and population of that state.
Some years, Bike Week brings on a massive inflation of deaths in the 10-day period—some years not so much. In 2006, the event contributed to the death of 20 riders. Compare that to the average of about who die each day in Florida from a .
In more recent years, the number has gone down dramatically to between 5 and 10 deaths during each event. Nevertheless, one death is still one death too many for the victims affected.
With an influx in riders heading to the state, it’s important that every motorcyclist is aware of local laws so they can stay safe and ticket-free.
There are many laws regarding motorcycles in Florida, but the ones aimed at keeping a rider safe are as follows:
Helmets are not required for riders over 21 years of age. This law was modified in 2000 from ‘helmets are required’ to ‘helmets are not required if your meet certain conditions”. First, you must be 21 or older to ride without a helmet. Second, you must be able to provide proof of medical insurance coverage of at least $10,000. Because helmets prevent fatalities, it’s best to wear one.
Compiled by the Insurance Information Institute, the following are some important facts and figures regarding motorcycle safety.
Knowing Florida’s motorcycle laws and the statistics behind the pastime can help you to stay safe. Heed the warnings that statistics offer. Slow down, wear a helmet, and of course, have fun.
In the state of Florida, financial liability for a motorcycle accident is proportional to the level of fault of each driver. That means that, most often, one person or the other will not be totally responsible for the accident. Perhaps the liability will be 50/50, 70/30 or 90/10. This proportional amount will be relative to the amount each party owes (or is owed) in a personal injury settlement.
Florida motorcyclists are not covered by . This can be bad news since injured riders are not eligible for the automatic medical bill and lost wage coverage. But it can also be a good thing since it opens injured victims up to other damage claims that PIP may restrict.
Driving under the influence is a dangerous and risky practice. It is easy to be caught in a situation, especially during Bike Week, where you are intoxicated but also need to get you and your motorcycle back to where you are staying. Don’t be tempted to drive drunk. Even if you have only had a few drinks over the limit, don’t do it. Not only could you seriously injure yourself, but you could also injure someone else and spend the rest of your life paying the consequences.
Those who are injured by a definitely have a personal injury case against the negligent rider. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, victims and their families may be able to claim special damages, third-party damages, and punitive damages.
There is nothing fun about any of this “worst case scenario” information. Riding a motorcycle and attending an event like Bike Week should be. Remember to stay safe, make good decisions, and have a good time. Bike Week is coming up in March and we hope you can enjoy it to the fullest.
Dolman Law Group is a personal injury law firm serving Pinellas County, Florida, home to Clearwater and St. Petersburg. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation. We have years of experience handling these types of claims and will not settle for anything less than what you deserve. Contact us by or by calling 727-451-6900.