Defective Motorcycles Can Cause Injuries
Every year, hundreds of motorcyclists are injured and killed on the roads of southern Florida. The statistics can be staggering – especially when they reveal that passenger vehicle fatalities occur at a mere fraction of the rate of fatal motorcycle accidents. Luckily, new technologies are making motorcycles safer for riders.
After any motorcycle accident, injury victims have legal rights that must be protected. The experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at the Dolman Law Group have decades of experience in securing fair compensation for motorcycle injury victims. Contact our office today to learn why Florida riders trust the Dolman Law Group.
Fatal Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Traffic fatalities across the United States declined after the economic crash of 2008. Slowly, Americans returned to the road and traffic fatalities are again on the rise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects that 2016 traffic fatalities were at least eight percent higher than 2015 fatalities (which were, in turn, 7.2% higher than 2014 fatalities). NHTSA also reported that, in 2014, motorcycle fatalities occurred twenty-seven times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles.
Every year, the National Highway Transit Safety Association compiles data on fatal traffic accidents. NHTSA recently released an update to its 2015 motorcycle fatality data. Many troubling trends can be observed:
- There were 8% more motorcycle fatalities in 2015 than in 2014.
- Per mile traveled, motorcycle accidents occurred nearly twenty-nine times more
- frequently than passenger car fatalities.
- 14% of all traffic fatality victims were motorcyclists (despite the fact that motorcycles
- were only 3% of registered vehicles).
- 33% of motorcycle fatalities involved speeding.helm
- The average age of a motorcycle fatality victim was 42.
- Weekend fatalities were nearly twice as high as weekday fatalities.
- 27% of motorcycle riders involved in fatalities did not hold a valid motorcycle license at
- the time of the crash. (This is nearly twice the rate of passenger vehicles, which was only 13%).
- Motorcycle drivers involved in fatalities were more likely to have a previous driving conviction than drivers of large trucks, light trucks, or passenger cars.
NHTSA also estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,772 motorcyclists in 2015. In states without universal helmet laws, 58% of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents were not wearing helmets. In states with universal helmet laws, this was only 8%.
Motorcycles have been repeatedly demonstrated to be less safe than passenger vehicles over decades of research. This is largely due to basic laws of physics which apply to the logistics of motorcycle riding. The larger a vehicle is, the more impact it can absorb from a collision. Motorcycles, which offer little to no such protection to riders, thus pass on nearly all the impact of collision to riders. Riders who are ejected from their bikes can fare even worse.
Who is Liable When an Accident is Caused By a Defect in the Motorcycle?
In many cases, an accident is completely beyond a rider’s control. When such accidents are due to a defect in the motorcycle itself, any company responsible for placing the bike on the road may be responsible for injuries caused by the defective motorcycle. This “stream of commerce” can include manufacturers, distributors, dealers, brokers, and other such parties.
There are many ways in which a motorcycle can be deemed defective. A poor design can make an entire line of motorcycles unsafe for use by consumers. In other cases, a manufacturing defect renders a particular product unsafe, because it left the manufacturer in a condition that was not intended. Manufacturers can be liable for compensating injuries caused by both defective designs and manufacturing defects in motorcycles.
Features That Save Lives
New motorcycle safety technologies are improving and expanding in ways that save lives. FairWarning reports that anti-lock braking (a feature which has been standard on many passenger vehicles since the 1990s) is quickly becoming a standard feature of motorcycles, as well. All new motorcycles sold in Europe must now include ABS. Japan, India, and Brazil are all requiring ABS for motorcycles on a phased-in schedule. Despite support from NHTSA and other powerful advocates, ABS is not yet required in the United States. It is still a widely-available feature, however, and consumers are wise to access its protection. It is also interesting to note that both the California Highway Patrol and New York City Police Department require all motorcycles in their fleets to carry ABS.
Other intriguing safety options are in various stages of research and development. Airbag vests and jackets; safer helmets with GPS and backup cameras; LED and adaptive headlights; gloves with Bluetooth connectivity; system monitoring and diagnostic warnings; electronic stability control; and many other such innovations may soon become widely available to consumers.
Of course, no amount of vehicle safety features can compensate for attentive, defensive driving behaviors. The best way to avoid injuries is to prevent a collision altogether. Follow these safety tips to ensure that your ride is as safe as possible:
- Make sure you and your motorcycle can be seen. Smaller vehicles can be more difficult for other drivers to see and avoid. Use your horn and headlight as necessary to make your presence known.
- Always keep your attention on the road. Navigation systems, entertainment systems, and the ever-present smart phones offer a host of distractions on a level which drivers have never before experienced. Such distractions are particularly dangerous when driving a motorcycle, as this requires greater physical control than driving a passenger vehicle.
- Never drive faster than is safe for present conditions. Motorcycles are especially susceptible to slippery roadways. Poor visibility, construction and school zones, and heavy traffic also require decreased speed in order to react to changing road conditions.
- Always wear a helmet. Data over many decades has consistently shown that motorcycle helmets save lives.
The Right Motorcycle Accident Attorney for You
Motorcycle accident victims have legal rights under Florida law to be compensated for their injuries. The Dolman Law Group has decades of experience in protecting the rights of motorcycle accident victims in and around the St. Petersburg area. Call (727) 451-6900 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced, aggressive motorcycle accident attorney. Our friendly, professional staff offers the personalized service you need during this difficult time.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765