Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

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Motorcycle Accident Attorney Fort Lauderdale FL

Veteran riders of motorcycles probably have had at least one near miss when it comes to motorcycle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, indicates motorcyclists multiply their risk of a fatal accident by 35 times compared to automobiles.

Motorcycles are a lot of fun to operate — nobody who has driven one or ridden on one can deny this — so the risk-taking is understandable. After all, some of us simply need to take more risks to get that zest out of life we call crave. Unfortunately this often results in accidents which cause serious injuries or, all too commonly, death. Below are situations in which you, as a motorcycle rider, have probably found yourself at one time or another. Understand them better and learn how to avoid accidents in the future. If you have already been in an accident, please contact an Aventura car accident lawyer now. The Law Offices of Cohn & Smith are standing by to take your call.

Blind Turns

Blind turns plague motorcyclists in densely populated cities across the United States every single day. Cars line up in traffic along sidewalks while others pull out into the road without being able to see vehicles or motorcycles coming their way. Some people edge out slowly, looking in the direction of oncoming traffic, while others simply pull right out into whatever danger may or may not be lurking around the corner. If you are approaching one of these vehicles on your motorcycle, you will either hit the other vehicle or swerve and hit another object. Sometimes you can avoid this situation and other times you can not; when you can not be extremely cautious in order to avoid an accident.

Crossing Intersections

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Teenage drivers are one of the biggest threats you can encounter on the road today.  Drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 have the highest annual car crash rate of any other age group. This is why parents of young drivers are encouraged to keep a close eye on their children’s behavior to prevent serious accidents that may harm the child as well as other innocent travelers.

The Danger of Teenage Drivers & Distraction

Unfortunately, teen drivers are everywhere.  Anyone at any time can fall victim to a teen losing control of their vehicle and causing any number of personal injuries to you or your loved ones.  It is important to understand the causes of risky teen driving in order to identify and possibly avoid serious injury.

Common Teen Driver Distractions

One of the most common causes of teen driving accidents is distracted driving. Teens have a more difficult time dealing with distractions because of their inexperience behind the wheel. Driver distractions can impair anyone’s ability to react appropriately behind the wheel. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the following are distractions that have been identified as particularly hazardous to young drivers:

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Every year, thousands of bikers from across the country flock to Florida for Daytona Beach Bike Week. Sadly, along with the influx of motorcycles comes an increased safety risk. That’s especially true for motorcyclists participating in group rides. During the 2013 Daytona Beach Bike Week, one man from a pair of Connecticut riders was killed in a crash on U.S. 1.

If you’re a motorcyclist heading out on a group ride, follow these safety tips:

  • Get organized beforehand. Whether your group ride is large or small, prep every rider with details of the route beforehand. Consider handing out cellphone numbers and maps.
  • Experienced riders go first. When arranging the rider formation, place the experienced riders in the front. The experienced riders should keep a pace that is reasonable for the inexperienced riders to follow.
  • Line up when needed. Form a single-file line when necessary for rider safety. This includes the following situations:
    • Sharp turns
    • Decreased visibility
    • Highway entrances or exits
    • Toll booths
  • Respect your limits. Riders need to know their limits. If the group is riding at a speed that is out of your comfort zone, slow down to a safer speed. Don’t give in to peer pressure on the road, as it can have a tragic outcome.

If you were injured in a motorcycle wreck, contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale motorcycle crash attorney. An attorney can review the details of your accident and advise you about your legal options.

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About 8,620 motorcycle crashes were reported in Florida in 2011, resulting in 7,194 injuries and more than 400 deaths. These statistics don't just represent young risk takers. Increasingly, the victims of motorcycle-related injuries are older than 50. In many cases, the bikers were senior citizens. Baby boomers who enjoy riding must take special care when on the road.

Older rider injuries

The number of motorcycle crash injuries in the age group of 50 and up has sharply increased in recent years. This age group has the highest rate of serious injury and hospitalization. Injuries common to this older riders include:

  • Fractures
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Neck injuries

Safety tips

Riders can take steps to increase safety, including:

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Experts agree that one of the best ways to stay safe on your motorcycle is to ride defensively and assume that drivers generally cannot see you coming. By avoiding aggressive driving and resisting the temptation of pushing bikes to the limit on crowded roads, motorcycle riders can significantly reduce their exposure to accidents. In addition to modifying the way bikers ride, a number of other safety measures can be taken to minimize damage in the event of a collision. While most people think only of having quality DOT-certified helmets, which are indispensable in any accident, there are a wide variety of other precautions riders can and should take.

Protective clothing: armor from the asphalt

Scary as it might sound, every exposed part of a rider’s body is at risk for scraping against the pavement when accidents occur, an experience that has been likened to leaning against a belt sander. The best way to avoid the painful aftermath of road rash is to invest in protective clothing, including a durable jacket capable of withstanding the type of abrasions that a motorcycle accident can cause. In addition to a quality torso covering of leather, Kevlar or ballistic nylon, eye protection, gloves and boots are also critical since a rider’s extremities are at high risk for injury in any motorcycle crash. Neglecting these simple items can have disastrous consequences on the road.

Technological advances

In addition to protecting their bodies, riders can also take advantage of certain technologies to improve their safety. For example, intelligent lights represent a major improvement on standard headlamps and provide riders with significantly enhanced views. These adaptive headlights tilt with the motorcycle in accordance with the bike’s lean angle. Improved brake lights are also being developed, which alert drivers when a motorcycle slows down, regardless of whether the brakes have actually been applied.

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Vietnam veteran. State senator. Motorcycle Hall of Fame member. These are all terms that have been used to describe David Zien, a remarkable individual who has crisscrossed the nation on his motorcycle many times over. Zien’s travels include several visits to Key West, among other Florida destinations. Recently, Zien became known for breaking a remarkable record: riding over one million miles on his 1991 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide, which now rests in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, Ohio. For his efforts, Harley-Davidson rewarded Zien with a brand-new bike.

Can’t keep a good man down

While Zien’s military service and political career are in and of themselves an inspiration, his survival of a devastating motorcycle accident provides an awe-inspiring example of courage and perseverance. While visiting Florida, Zien was the victim of a horrific high-speed accident caused by an SUV that traversed both lanes before skipping in and out of a ditch and flipping on its side. The driver in front of Zien didn’t even have time to react, but Zien slammed on his brakes, which sent him hurtling over 340 feet onto the pavement.

The cost of negligence

Zien paid a dear price for the negligence of the driver who caused the accident, losing most of a leg, seven inches above the knee. Unfortunately, Zien’s accident conforms to the pattern of most motorcycle accidents in Florida. Indeed, a study at the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research found that drivers of other vehicles caused the majority of motorcycle accidents over the last 10 years.

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Motorcycle riders are not only drawn to their two-wheeled vehicles because of their outlaw image and the allure of the wind against their face on the open road. Many motorcycle riders also choose this mode of transportation due to the cost of the vehicle, its fuel efficiency and the ease with which it can be parked and stored. Not least of all, many riders enjoy the superior maneuverability of motorcycles in certain situations.

Don’t try this at home or anywhere in Florida

When it comes to maneuverability, some riders engage in a practice called lane splitting, which involves driving between two lanes instead of choosing one lane like their four-wheeled counterparts. Cruising up the painted strip is especially enticing during stop-and-go traffic, standstills, and even urban congestion due to rush hour or special events. Some argue that lane splitting has disastrous results, since motorcycles have little or no opportunity to avoid automobiles that attempt to change lanes without seeing motorcycles that seemingly spring forth from their blind spots.

Under Florida law, lane splitting is explicitly prohibited by statute, which makes the practice a noncriminal traffic infraction similar to other moving violations. The state legislature moved to outlaw the practice based on the debatable theory that riding between lanes increases the likelihood of accidents for motorcycles and cars.

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While motorcycles are never inherently dangerous, evidence indicates that deaths are more likely to result from motorcycle collisions than from car crashes. Specifically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that there are 30 times more deaths on motorcycles than in cars per mile traveled. As a result, riders would do well to identify risk factors that might decrease their likelihood of accidents. It goes without saying that driving safely and soberly should always remain a top priority. The way one drives, however, may not be the only way riders can limit their risks on the roads, as studies indicate that the type of motorcycle an individual chooses to ride also plays a role in the likelihood of crashes.

Does supersport = superdangerous?

During the past 15 years, high-performance sport and supersport motorcycles have gained popularity, primarily among young riders who are drawn not only to their horsepower but also to the lower price tags these vehicles carry. For example, a relatively new preowned bike fetches somewhere around $3,000 in Florida. While sport bikes are ostensibly designed for high speeds in isolated areas like racetracks, riders often push them to the limit on city streets and highways. With sport motorcycles capable of quickly reaching speeds between 150 and 200 miles per hour, their lure often proves irresistible to young riders.

The statistics demonstrate the disproportionate number of deaths these motorcycles cause, accounting for close to 30 percent of motorcycle fatalities while comprising only around 10 percent of all motorcycle registrations. A report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also revealed that the death rate for supersport riders was four times higher than the death rate for riders of cruiser Harley-Davidson–style motorcycles. The IIHS also reported that speed plays a role in over half of the supersport motorcycle crashes.

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In the Internet age, motorcycle riders are finding themselves sucked into a wide variety of scams. Unscrupulous individuals hiding behind email addresses, fake websites and untraceable cell phones are concocting new plans each day to bilk their innocent victims. Several of these schemes may involve both sellers and buyers that never knew what hit them when their money went missing without a trace.

With a little help from a friend

In one common scam, fraudulent buyers claiming to be located overseas target motorcycle sellers in online classified ads. The seller is told that the buyer’s friend in the United States owes him money and will furnish it to the seller as payment for the motorcycle, which the friend will ship overseas to the buyer. The amount owed by the friend to the buyer is typically twice the asking price. The buyer explains that all the seller has to do is deposit a cashier’s check from the friend and wire the excess funds to the buyer. The generous buyer even offers to permit the seller to keep some of the excess money for their troubles. In reality, the cashier’s check is phony and the friend never arrives to pick up the motorcycle.  In many cases, the excess funds that have come out of the seller’s own pocket have already been wired to the buyer long before the seller ever discovers the scam.

The bike is not in the mail

In a variation on the overseas-friend scam, con artists offer to sell motorcycles under duress. They frequently justify too-good-to-be-true prices by claiming a loved one died while riding the motorcycle or that they need to unload it due to a messy divorce. In this scam, there is no motorcycle and the seller disappears once the requested down payment has been forwarded.

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While the overall number of victims of vehicular accidents has been in decline for more than 10 years, the number of motorcyclists injured in crashes has steadily increased. Statistics indicate that motorcycle crash victims are generally males under the age of 30, but anecdotal evidence indicates that motorcycle riders of all ages are at risk for crashes and the life-threatening injuries that often accompany them.

In less than the blink of an eye

Most crashes occur so quickly that the rider doesn’t even have the opportunity to react. Frequently, the drivers of the other motor vehicle involved in the crash literally don’t see motorcyclists before it’s too late. Essentially, some drivers experience what is called inattentional blindness, which prevents drivers who are not expecting to see a motorcycle from actually seeing one. Inattentional blindness renders such drivers cognitively incapable of being conscious of the motorcycle’s existence. It’s no wonder, then, that crashes occur ― even to the safest, most conscientious drivers and motorcycle riders.

Determining who is legally responsible for a motorcycle accident

The devastating consequences of motorcycle accidents include staggering medical bills, lost wages and, in certain circumstances, loss of life. Often the primary concern for those involved in motorcycle accidents and their loved ones is determining who is legally responsible for the accident. Generally speaking, negligence is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents. Recent examples of carelessness and/or negligence on our roads include a distracted driver who collided with and killed a motorcyclist because she was painting her nails. Glaring, tragic examples of negligence such as this are unfortunately all too common.

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