Mark Hickey

St. Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Motorcycling is common in St. Petersburg thanks to our mild climate and beautiful ocean views but accidents are common too. The cause is often the negligent driver of another vehicle who does not look before turning or switching lanes or who simply does not know how to safely drive near motorcycles.

The Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys has been helping injured motorcyclists and their families receive the compensation they deserve for injuries caused by the negligence of others for nearly 25 years. During that time, our St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorneys have won more than $90 million in settlements and court awards for our clients, including motorcyclists.

Motorcyclists More Likely to be Killed

When a motorcycle crashes, its rider and passenger do not have the physical protection of most vehicles, thus they are more likely to be injured or tragically killed. The federal government estimates that per mile driven in 2015, the number of deaths on motorcycles was nearly 29 times the number in cars, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Serious head injuries are common among motorcyclists so helmet use is important. Helmets are about 37% effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67% effective in preventing brain injuries. In Florida use of motorcycle helmets is mandated for a limited number of riders.

A total of 4,976 motorcyclists were killed in crashes nationwide in 2016.

  • Motorcyclist deaths were 13% of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2016 but only 3% of registered vehicles.
  • 60% of motorcyclist deaths happened in multi-vehicle crashes.
  • 36% of fatalities were of those 50 years old or older, 29% were younger than 30 (it was 80% in 1975).
  • 62% of motorcyclist deaths happened on major roads other than interstates. Deaths were more likely to happen in urban areas like St. Petersburg than rural areas (55% vs. 41%).

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 10,331 motorcycle accidents causing 515 motorcyclist fatalities in Florida (plus the deaths of 30 motorcycle passengers) in 2016.  This alarming number is down slightly from 2015 (546) but up sharply from 2014 (427). In 2016, 8,256 motorcyclist were injured in motor vehicle collisions.

Motorcyclists Face Multiple Risks

Motorcyclists are at increased risk for devastating personal injury because, unlike other vehicles, there is no protection surrounding them in a motor vehicle crash.  Although wearing a motorcycle helmet is generally required in Florida, there are exceptions to this rule. No matter what the law requires, drivers should watch out for motorcycles and negligent parties should be held accountable if they cause personal injuries or death.

The biggest threat to motorcyclists are other drivers.

  • Inexperienced Drivers – They may not be used to driving near motorcyclists.
  • Inattentive Drivers – Although motorcyclists may be seen, some drivers may not recognize a cyclist’s presence. This may explain why many vehicles turn left into the path of a motorcyclist who has the right of way.
  • Careless Drivers – Given the small size of most motorcycles, a driver may think a motorcycle rider is farther away than it actually is.
  • Reckless Drivers – Many drivers do not fully look around their vehicle before changing lanes or making a turn. As a result, what may have caused a minor fender bender with another vehicle has the potential to cause a fatal motorcycle crash.
  • Distracted Drivers – A vehicle driver coming to an intersection may not realize that, between his vehicle and the stopped vehicle in front of him, is a motorcycle. The motorcycle may be rear-ended and its driver injured.
  • Impaired Drivers – Drivers who threaten everyone because of intoxication, fatigue or dangerous habits are particularly dangerous to motorcyclists.

Commercial vehicles, trucks with large blind spots and drivers in a hurry to get to their destinations are especially dangerous to motorcyclists.  A motorcyclist would not stand a chance of avoiding a serious injury or death if involved in an accident with a large heavy truck.

The department also reports that,

  • Two-lane highways were the location for 40% of fatal motorcycles accidents and four-lane roadways were where just more than 31% of motorcyclist fatalities occurred.
  • April is the deadliest month for motorcyclists and Saturday is the deadliest day of the week.

Drivers Cause Accidents with Motorcycles

Clearwater motorcycle accident injury

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states,

  • Due to their small size and maneuverability, motorists may have a hard time seeing motorcycles and difficulty judging their distance and speed.
  • 54% of all motorcycles involved in fatal crashes in 2015 collided with another vehicle.
  • A motorist taking a left turn at an intersection is one of the most dangerous situations for a motorcyclist. Vehicle drivers either do not see oncoming motorcyclists, see but ignore them or misjudge their distance and speed.
  • Of all two vehicle fatal accidents involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle in 2015, 41% resulted from a motor vehicle taking a left turn left while the motorcycles were going straight towards the vehicle, passing or overtaking other vehicles.
  • Vehicle blind spots increase a motorcyclist’s risk of an accident. A motorcycle can easily be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot due to its narrow profile.

How the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys can Help

If you are a St. Petersburg resident motorcyclist, or a motorcyclist visiting the city, and you have been injured due to the negligence of another party, get the medical treatment you need then contact the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys. We can discuss your situation, injuries and legal rights. A motorcycle injury case is built on facts and they can only be determined after a thorough investigation.

Florida negligence and insurance laws can be complex. Trying to negotiate your own settlement could  result in you making admissions or signing documents that make protecting your legal rights more difficult or impossible. Your lack of knowledge of the true value of your case can result in a settlement that is far less than the value of your case.

At the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys we do not get paid unless we win and we want to win! If you have questions regarding your motorcycle accident, contact our St. Petersburg injury attorneys today at 1-800-222-8163.  Our experienced team of trial lawyers is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss your legal options and the consultation is absolutely FREE.