While any automobile accident can be damaging, injurious, and traumatic, accidents involving motorcycles or scooters can be even more so. Drivers operating motorcycles and scooters are more vulnerable to injury or death as they are more openly exposed to the elements, hazards on the roadway, and other vehicles.
Florida is a very popular place for motorcyclists, scooter operators, and bicyclists. Accidents involving two-wheel vehicles are thus more common on Florida roadways than many other types of accidents. Across the United States, the number of injuries and fatalities in motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle accidents has increased. Even though awareness programs have been implemented in many locations, and stricter rules and punishments have been placed on those who do not follow safety guidelines, statistics still indicate an upward trend.
How dangerous are Motorcycle and Scooter Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), statistics compiled in 2012 revealed that almost 5,000 motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers were killed in accidents, which accounts for 15 percent of overall accidents. Another 93,000 people sustained injuries in motorcycle accidents.
Statistics on scooter accidents are less readily available, however the dangers are great. In fact, some suggest that scooters and mopeds may be more dangerous than motorcycles because they are quieter and more difficult to see by drivers in larger vehicles. Another potential danger to scooter operators is that many people are unaware that scooter operators are subject to the same laws as every other vehicle on the road. That means that scooter operators have a right to travel in regular traffic lanes so long as the driver has the required license and the scooter is properly registered.
Causes of Motorcycle and Scooter Accidents
Many factors cause or contribute to automobile accidents with motorcycles and scooters. Some of the most common factors are:
- Speeding - Speeding is a dangerous behavior for any driver, no matter how large or small the vehicle. Speeding exacerbates roadway conditions, such as weather, hazards, and the behavior of other drivers. Speeding also creates a greater chance of failing to respond to situations on the road, which is a leading cause of accidents.
- Impaired Driving - The NHTSA indicates that as many as 28 percent of motorcycle operators killed in motorcycle accidents were impaired by alcohol. Impaired driving can result from the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription drugs, which all can alter an individual’s vision, frame of mind, alertness, response, and reflexes. Impaired driving is a dangerous, and far too common, cause of accidents on Florida roadways.
- Inexperience - One of the most important factors when it comes to motorcycle and scooter safety is that operators of these vehicles be educated about the rules of the road, and have enough experience to safely operate these vehicles. When operators are inexperienced, they place their lives, that of their passengers, and that of others on the roadway in danger. Most states require motorcycle and scooter operators to undergo hours of training, and pass a test before being licensed. Like a standard driver’s license, a motorcycle or scooter license must be renewed and properly maintained in good standing.
- Distracted Driving - Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous behaviors that the operator of any automobile can participate in. Talking on a mobile device, texting, working with a GPS unit, rubbernecking, or adjusting instruments or controls can all lead to being distracted. Unfortunately, operators of motorcycles or scooters also must be aware of the dangers of other drivers being distracted. When drivers are distracted, this increases the chance that they will not see motorcycles or scooters on the roadway near them.
- Weather - Motorcycles and scooters are more susceptible to weather extremes. Whenever roads are slick, operating two-wheel vehicles can be more challenging and dangerous. Poor weather visibility can also create additional hazards for motorcycle and scooter operators as other drivers may not see them, or they may not see hazards in the road.
What to Do after a Motorcycle or Scooter Accident in Florida
Any automobile accident in Florida has serious repercussions for those involved and their loved ones. Motorcycle and scooter accidents can be far more injurious, traumatic, and involved than other accidents, however. Often, the injuries caused in these accidents are catastrophic if not fatal. The expenses associated with catastrophic injuries can also drain the finances of the victim and his or her family.
After a traumatic motorcycle or scooter accident, the individuals involved will be expected to consult with their insurance companies to establish coverage amounts including liability and bodily injury. If it is determined that one party was negligent in contributing to the accident and injuries, then further steps may be taken for relief.
Florida’s personal injury laws allow the victims of a traumatic motorcycle or scooter accident to seek relief in the form of monetary compensation if any party involved is found to be negligent in contributing to the accident. Successfully litigated personal injury claims can provide compensation, which can be used to help cover expenses such as:
- Medical expenses including accident-related emergency care and transportation, hospitalization costs, surgical costs, therapy, and rehabilitation
- Lost wages may be awarded if the victim becomes disabled or is unable to continue in the course of his or her employment
- Expenses associated with renting a vehicle during repair or replacement of the damaged vehicle
- Pain and suffering associated with the mental and emotional trauma of a serious accident
- Out-of-pocket expenses to be determined according to the individual case
After a motorcycle or scooter accident, there are often a great many questions regarding the best way to proceed, what recourse is available, and how best to manage losses and expenses. Fortunately, Florida offers the rights and protection of personal injury laws, which can be a great remedy in helping people to recover sooner.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle or scooter accident, contact an experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney today. Call our office to set up a free consultation of your case.