Motorcycling is a popular activity for many people in the United States. In Florida, it is particularly popular because of the warm temperatures year-round. With more motorcycles on the road and high volume of traffic from residents and vacationers, Florida has given special attention to the problem of accidents and fatalities from motorcycle riding.
Motorcycle Accidents in Florida
Florida is among the top three states for motorcycle ownership. Only Texas and California exceed the number of riders. These three states have climates that are conducive to motorcycling, and the number of motorcycle accidents in these states is the highest in the nation because of the prevalence of this mode of transportation. Because people can ride year-round in these climates, accidents increase. The risk of getting killed in a motorcycle accident is thirty times higher than in a car for every mile driven.
Factors in the Rise of Accidents
The number of motorcycle accidents in the state of Florida has risen steadily since the mid-1990s. The rise in gasoline prices tracks the risk in accidents significantly, making it clear that more people are taking to using motorcycles because of high gasoline prices. Although fatalities have dropped to some extent, the number of injuries has risen with the frequency of riding. Florida does not currently have a mandatory helmet law.
Fatal accidents while riding a motorcycle have varied widely since the year 2000. The number steadily rose, peaking in 2008. From 2009 to 2010, fatalities dropped significantly, but then began to rise again to its current high. In 2012, 287 people died in motorcycle crashes in Florida.
Increasing Motorcycle Safety Awareness
Florida has instituted a number of programs to help reduce the number of motorcycles injuries in the state:
- Proper licensing of motorcycle drivers – Up to 22 percent of motorcycles drivers involved in accidents do not have proper licensing. Increased efforts to ensure that drivers can operate their vehicles properly would help to reduce accidents.
- Increased awareness of “sharing the road” – Public education efforts to increase awareness of motorcycles riders on the road would help to reduce the number of collisions.
- Encouraging motorcycle driving education classes – Operation of a motorcycle is more complex than driving a car. Proper training helps to reduce the number of accidents.