Bike Week is a huge event in Daytona, Florida, every year, with an estimated half a million people coming to the motorcycle-themed event from across the country and even the world. The Orlando Sentinel reports that this year’s 76th Bike Week had a cloud cast over it because a new study showed the Sunshine State is the leader in bike deaths across the country.
The study was conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA). It showed a 30 percent increase in bike deaths in the state between 2014 and 2015. Motorcycle registration did grow during this period, but only by 3 percent, which is not enough to explain the rise in deaths. While motorcycles only make up 3 percent of all the registered vehicles in Florida today, motorcyclists are involved in one-fifth of all vehicle fatalities there. Over the first weekend of this year’s Bike Week, there were at least three major bike crashes in Volusia County, with two people dying and six people injured in less than 24 hours.
Across the nation, the death rate for motorcyclists fell by nearly half from 2006 to 2014. Previously, the rate had been 40 people killed for every 100 million miles traveled, but that average fell to 23. This was despite an increase in registered bikes across the U.S. during that period from 6.6 million to 8.4 million.
AAA’s study ranked motorcycle deaths by county, with Miami-Dade coming in first with 67 deaths across the one-year period. The reasons for the deaths varied, with the fact that Florida does not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet being one big factor. Drivers’ failing to pay attention or share the road properly with motorcyclists is another cause, and this was evident during the Bike Week accidents. In one incident, a driver ran a red light in Daytona Beach and rear-ended two motorcyclists before crossing through the intersection and hitting a third.
As reported by NewsTalk Florida, many motorcyclists say they do not feel safe or visible on Florida’s roads. Resident Max Baer, who has ridden in Florida for years, noted that not being seen is a bigger problem in the cities, where people are just not paying enough attention and the roads are too congested. Another resident, 53-year-old Brian Knouff has been riding a motorcycle for most of his life but is seriously thinking about selling his because he just does not feel safe on Florida’s roads unless he is in his car.
The concerns of Florida motorcyclists are shared by motorcyclists across the nation. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched awareness campaigns in the past, and so have bike-friendly states. According to the NHTSA, most multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes happened because a driver did not see the motorcyclist, and the administration urges motorcyclists to drive defensively and cautiously on the road because of this fact.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a motorcycle accident, speak to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer Denver CO trusts today.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into motorcycle fatalities.