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Florida has earned the reputation as one of the most dangerous states for motorcyclists. Hence, we've come up with a basic overview of motorcycle accident statistics in the state of Florida in an attempt to discover the reason for its high motorcycle crash and death rates. Whether or not you are a motorcycle rider, motorcyclist safety should be a concern for all citizens.

To continue to protect our motorcycle riders, motorcycle accident lawyers in Florida continually fight to give them fair and just compensation following a motorcycle crash. Because of a motorcycle's design and small size, motorcyclists usually come out of a motor vehicle accident injured, or worse.

General Florida Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Based on the 2019 data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, here are some general statistics about motorcycle crashes:

Florida Motorcycle Accident Statistics
  • There were a total of 8,895 motorcycle crashes in Florida in 2019
  • Out of the total number of crashes, 550 resulted in fatalities and 2,072 in incapacitating injuries
  • There was a marked decrease in motorcycle crashes by 2.71%, from 9,143 total crashes in 2018
  • The total number of motorcycle drivers killed in crashes increased to 521 in 2019, from 506 in 2018.
  • The total percentage of motorcycle passenger deaths increased in 2019 by 16.00% from 2018, resulting in 29 motorcycle occupant death for that year.
  • A vast majority of motorcycle fatalities involved people aged 20-29, with 171fatalities in total.
  • Miami-Dade County had the highest reported number of motorcycle fatalities in 2019 with 298 fatalities in total.

The National Highway Safety Administration has already released overall statistics for 2020, although more in-depth data is not yet available on their website. According to their 2020 summary, there were 8,209 total motorcycle accidents, 516 fatalities, and 6,945 injuries.

Fatal Motorcycle Accident Data in the United States

Why is it that Florida is considered a dangerous state for motorcyclists? Let's look at the data for the entire United States, and compare it to local statistics:

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were a total of 5,014 reported fatal crashes in the entire US in 2019. Florida had 550 fatal crashes that year, which means the state is responsible for around 11% of all deadly motorcycle crashes in the country.
  • Around 84,000 people were injured due to crashes involving motorcycles in 2019 in the US. Florida makes up around 9% of total motorcycle injuries in the US with 7,720 injuries for that year.

With these numbers and percentages, we can tell that Florida accounts for a lot of motorcycle deaths and accidents in the country. 

Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Florida

What are the leading causes of motorcycle accidents and fatalities in Florida? By combing through crash reports, we've found the following information:

  • The majority of motorcyclist's wrongful deaths were the result of a head-on collision. Only a small percent of motorcycle accidents resulted from rear-end collisions.
  • The most common type of head-on collision is colliding against a solid object, such as a lamppost, electricity pole, or road barrier. 
  • With motorcycle accidents involving another automobile, accidents usually happen because the other car was making a turn, while the motorcycle was going straight.
  • Almost half of all motorcycle fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired motorcyclist.
  • The most common cause of death in preventable motorcycle fatalities is the lack of common safety gear such as a safety helmet.

Helmet Use and Driver Safety Statistics in Florida

The National Highway Safety Administration has always advocated for the use of helmets for motorcyclists, because of the number of lives saved by safety gear. Here are some general statistics surround helmet use in the state of Florida:

  • Out of the total number of fatal motorcycle crash reports in 2019, the driver was wearing a DOT-compliant helmet in 246 reported fatal crashes.
  • In 241 reported fatal motorcycle accidents in 2019, the driver was not wearing a helmet.
  • Out of the total number of reported motorcycle occupant death during that year, DOT-compliant helmets were worn in 34% of fatal crashes, while 55% of passengers were not wearing motorcycle helmets. 
  • Helmets can reduce the risk of motorcycle accident death by up to 42 percent.

In summary, over 50% of motorcyclist deaths in 2019 involved motorcyclists without safety helmets. Why is this number so large? One reason might be because Florida is one of the few states that do not require their motorcyclists to wear helmets while on the road.

On July 1, 2000, the state of Florida repealed the Universal Helmet Law which mandated all motorcycle drivers to wear helmets. Presently, only motorcycle riders below 21 and those with medical benefits coverage amounting to less than $10,000 are obligated to wear helmets.

A motorcycle rider enjoys a day on a Florida highway

Helmet use in the entire state of Florida dropped after the motorcycle helmet law was repealed, and a stark increase in motorcycle fatalities was noted in the years that followed. The percent of motorcyclists showing up at the Emergency Department requiring treatment for head and brain injury also increased.

As a responsible motorcyclist, it is up to you to ensure your safety and the safety of your passengers even if it is not mandated by the law. The easiest way to cut down on serious motorcycle serious injuries and deaths is to wear a DOT-compliant helmet. The easiest way to tell if a helmet has passed the standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation is the sticker on the back of the helmet and the inside. However, it's easy to counterfeit these stickers, so manually check your helmet for the following:

  • Adequate peripheral vision - Your helmet must provide you with side vision of around 105 degrees.
  • Polystyrene inner lining - helmets certified by the Department of Transportation usually have an inner lining of polystyrene foam around 1 inch thick.
  • Heavy helmets - Your helmet should weigh around 3 pounds.
  • Durable Chin Straps - When purchasing a helmet, check the chin straps and rivets if they're durable and sturdy.
  • Helmet Design - Helmets that protrude or extend over one-fifth of an inch are considered unsafe.

Alcohol-Impaired Driving Statistics

A driver is considered alcohol-impaired if their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels are at 0.08 grams per deciliter and above, while a driver is considered severely alcohol-impaired if their blood alcohol content levels are greater than 0.15 grams per deciliter. 

  • In Florida, out of the total number of fatal crashes reported, around 27%, or 149 cases, involved a person who was mildly intoxicated. This means the person had a BAC of around .08+ g/dL.
  • Around 17% of total motorcycle fatal crashes in Florida involved a person who was severely alcohol-impaired.
  • Motorcycles had the highest number of deaths due to alcohol-impaired driving compared to other vehicle types.

Motorcycle Insurance and Property Loss Statistics

Since Florida's insurance laws only apply to vehicles with 4 wheels and above, technically you don't have to get a health insurance policy. However, you will be required by law to wear a helmet every time you're on the road. Motorcyclists with at least $10,000 insurance coverage are allowed to drive without a helmet. As a precaution, it is recommended that you have at least $10,000 coverage for Bodily Injury Liability and $10,000 for Property Damage Liability.

  • From 2015 to 2019, Super-sport motorcycles have taken out the most claims, while dual-purpose motorcycles had the least number of claims.
  • The highest declared collision losses have come from autocycles, while scooters had the least amount of declared collision losses.

This does not mean that super-sport motorcycles get into the most accidents; it can also mean that most super-sport motorcycle owners carry insurance policies. Based on collision damage claims, it seems that autocycles, when they get into motorcycles crashes, suffer a lot of damages, while scooters suffer the least amount of damage, or don't get into motorcycle traffic crashes often.

Don't Become A Statistic - Motorcycle Comprehensive Safety Approach

Although there is a steady decline in motorcycle crashes and deaths, there are still too many lives lost in what could have been preventable motorcycle crashes. If you are a motorcyclist, remember to protect yourself and keep your eyes peeled - motorcycles, because of their design, are completely vulnerable, and usually suffer more losses compared to automobiles.

Based on these statistics, there are a lot of ways by which we can make motorcycle riding safer:

  • Remember to always wear a safety helmet that's certified by the DOT. This does not only apply to the driver but the passenger as well.
  • Do not try to ride in unfavorable conditions. If you must, then drive slowly and carefully.
  • Be discerning when deciding when to overtake or change lanes.
  • Never ride a motorcycle when you're intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
  • Protect yourself by signing up for insurance

Here at VG Law, we've seen our fair share of motorcycle accidents, and we see a lot of riders who feel helpless after an accident because they don't have insurance and they don't know how to protect themselves when the other party decides to file a lawsuit against them.

A woman rider smiles and shows off the keys of her motorcycle in Florida

Don't become another statistic - protect yourself, not just when it comes to avoiding an accident, but also when you find yourself at odds with the law. Even if you have never been in an accident before, it's always helpful to seek the advice of a reputable motorcycle accident attorney to arm yourself with enough knowledge to fight for your rights if one day you find yourself the victim of a motorcycle accident.

Meta Description: Motorcycle Accident Statistics in Florida give us insight into what's lacking and what we can do to make Florida roadways safe for motorcyclists once more.

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