Motorcycle Accidents

What Is a Major Cause of Death in Motorcycle Accidents?

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Driving and riding on a motorcycle is a fun and exhilarating experience. Many individuals who ride motorcycles also have cars or trucks but also ride motorcycles as a hobby. Riding a motorcycle can give you an adrenaline rush similar to the one you may experience through other recreational activities like surfing, climbing, or skiing. Like these other activities, riding a motorcycle requires concentration. With that concentration and adrenaline, many motorcyclists, like skiers and surfers, report a feeling of calm, oneness, and freedom as they ride. This feeling of oneness is similar to the feelings one may achieve through meditation. In a lot of ways, riding a motorcycle is a form of meditation. Despite the fun and exhilaration of riding a motorcycle, doing so is more dangerous than riding in or driving a car. Motorcycle fatality rates greatly exceed those of driving cars, as do injury rates. Even when a motorcyclist is careful, accidents can happen, and injuries are often more severe than those resulting from similar car accidents. To ride a motorcycle more safely, it is important to ask the question, what is the most common cause of death in motorcycle accidents? By knowing the most common cause of motorcycle fatality, you can take steps to protect yourself as a motorcyclist. Motorcycle Fatalities at a Glance In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 4,985 motorcyclist deaths on U.S. roads. The 4,985 fatalities were 5% lower than 2017’s number. Put another way, this number put the fatality rate of motorcyclists at 24.83 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2018. To put this in perspective, compared to car occupants, the 24.83 fatality rate in 2018 was 27 times higher than the same fatality rate for cars. These numbers represent a significant increase in risk between riding a motorcycle and riding in a car. Why Are Motorcycles More Dangerous Than Cars or Trucks? The main reason why motorcycles are more dangerous to drive than conventional automobiles is that motorcycles offer little or no physical protection to their riders. Cars and trucks are literal metal cages. In an accident, the metal cage surrounding occupants absorbs much of the force of impact. The more of the impact the car absorbs, the less its occupants are subject to. Furthermore, each year, manufacturers redesign their cars and trucks to better absorb such shock and better protect their occupants. Conversely, when you’re riding a motorcycle, you are exposed directly to the force of impact. Absorbing the force of such an impact means injuries are more severe. The continuous redesign of cars to reduce occupant impact in a car accident just isn’t possible for motorcycle manufacturers.  What Is the Main Cause of Motorcycle Accidents? Another reason that motorcycles are more dangerous to drive than cars is that they are harder to see on the road. This is why lack of visibility is the main cause of motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles are obviously much smaller than conventional cars or trucks. Motorcycles also have smaller and fewer lights than cars or trucks. As a result, your visibility while riding a motorcycle is much less than that of a car or truck. If other drivers can’t see you, it is harder for them to avoid a potential collision. If someone is in a semi-truck or other vehicle high off the ground, your visibility as a motorcyclist decreases even more. The size of trucks and their impact on motorcycle visibility combine to create even more danger for motorcyclists than small or midsize cars. Common Causes of Fatalities in Motorcycle Accidents By far, the most common cause of fatalities in motorcycle accidents is head injuries. Your head is the most important part of your body. Also, it is one of the easiest parts of your body to injure. Because your head does not have the same protection on a motorcycle as it does in a car, riding a motorcycle puts your head at a higher risk of trauma and injury. The impact of a vehicle on your head or the impact of hitting the road when you fly off your motorcycle exposes your head and brain to great danger.  How to Ride a Motorcycle More Safely The most important step you can take to protect your life as a motorcyclist is to protect your head. The best way to protect your head is by wearing your helmet. The NHTSA estimates that helmets prevented 1,872 motorcyclist deaths in 2017 alone. Furthermore, the NHTSA estimates that for every 100 motorcyclist deaths, more than one-third (37%) would be preventable if all motorcyclists wore their helmets. To help choose a safe and effective helmet that fits your needs, check out some reviews on pages like Revzilla. Having the right helmet could save your life. Because lack of visibility is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents, a second step you can take to protect yourself as a motorcycle rider is to make sure you are as visible as possible on the road. Most motorcycle crashes are caused by a lack of visibility. To avoid this, make sure your lights are in good working condition every time you ride your motorcycle. Consider keeping a couple of replacement lights with you when you ride in case one of your lights goes out.  Another step you can take to improve your visibility is to wear clothing that makes you more visible to other drivers. Consider purchasing a reflective vest for when you ride, especially if you plan to ride your motorcycle at night. A reflective vest like one of these is an inexpensive and easy way to improve your visibility on the road. Have You or a Loved One Been in a Motorcycle Accident? If one of your loved ones dies in a motorcycle accident and you are considering filing a wrongful death claim, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys here at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have a great deal of experience with wrongful death claims, and motorcycle accidents are one of our...

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When is a Motorcyclist at Fault for an Accident?

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries. Motorcycles offer little protection to the rider. While wearing protective gear and helmets can help prevent some injuries, motorcyclists are still vulnerable. The majority of accidents between a motor vehicle and a motorcycle are the fault of the motor vehicle driver. However, there are some instances where the negligent behavior of a motorcyclist can contribute to an accident. Lane Splitting Lane splitting is illegal in Florida, and yet some motorcyclists continue to do it. A motorcyclist lane splits when they ride in between lanes and vehicles in order to travel faster in traffic. This behavior is extremely dangerous and can result in a serious accident due to the close proximity between the motorcycle and the other vehicles. Drunk Driving Just like the drivers of cars, motorcycle riders who are operating a bike while intoxicated are breaking the law. Drunk driving is especially hazardous for motorcycle riders as it can lead to a loss of balance and result in a motorcycle flipping over. Even for an experienced rider, maintaining balance after a few drinks can be difficult. Speeding The power of a motorcycle can make it tempting for a rider to speed. Speeding on a motorcycle is very dangerous and can lead to more serious injuries. In addition, speeding greatly increases a motorcycle rider’s potential liability for an accident. Distracted Riding Texting while driving is not limited to motor vehicle drivers. Texting while riding a motorcycle unfortunately also occurs. Riders who text are taking their visual and cognitive focus off the road. The lack of attention means motorcyclists are essentially riding blind while they’re looking at their phones. Inexperience  A motorcycle rider who does not know how to control their vehicle properly or how to avoid an accident can be a serious liability on the road. This is especially true if the rider is unlicensed. Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, your own negligence may not bar you from recovering for your injuries entirely. You may want to have an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Florida evaluate your case. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience handling motorcycle accident cases. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.

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Choosing the Right Motorcycle Gear

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

Riding a motorcycle provides individuals with a sense of freedom and a sense of connection. However, motorcycle riding can be very dangerous. Motorcycles don’t offer the same protection in a collision that a car or a truck can. However, there are some steps you can take to minimize injuries. Buying the right gear can help protect you from some injuries. Helmet The right motorcycle helmet is probably the most important piece of motorcycle gear you can have. Full face helmets are generally the safest because they offer full coverage of your face as well as your head. Make sure your helmet has a thermoplastic or reinforced composite shell. Snell Foundation certification is not a requirement, but they go above and beyond when testing helmets. When selecting a helmet, it is also important to ensure that your helmet fits you correctly. Measure your head to determine the right size. The helmet should be snug on your head, but you should not feel pressure or pinching.  Secured Jacket A jacket that is specifically designed to protect a motorcyclist’s body is important. Jackets should have impact-absorbing material to protect the body. Check for the “CE” rating on any jacket you purchase. Protective Pants Motorcycle pants should fit snugly but should also allow you to move around freely. The pants should have CE-rated armor in the hips, shins, and knees. Zipping your pants to your jacket can make you more secure. Try to find pants made by the same manufacturer as your jacket and ensure that they are compatible. If possible, a full body motorcycle suit is safest. Gloves Protect your hands and wrists with the right gloves. Make sure your glove has a wrist retention strap to prevent the gloves from falling off. The gloves should provide full coverage of your hand. There should be no skin exposed between your jacket and your gloves. Gloves made of products such as Kevlar are best for protecting against abrasions and other injuries.  Boots Motorcycle boots should be oil-resistant, have non-slip soles, and offer good ankle support. Try to choose soles with a metal plate in them to prevent twisting. Always make sure to lace your boots securely above the ankle. Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney Even with the best safety gear, you can still be injured in a motorcycle accident. If this happens, you may want to have an experienced motorcycle accident attorney evaluate your case. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have extensive experience representing Floridians injured in motorcycle accidents. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

The weather in Florida is beautiful in May, and, for some, it’s the perfect time to go for a motorcycle ride. May is also a great time to remember to stay safe on and around motorcycles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It’s the perfect time to brush up on safety tips for motorists and motorcyclists. Sharing the Road with Motorcycles It’s important for the drivers of larger vehicles to be mindful of sharing the road with motorcycles and motorcycle safety. Motorcyclists are more likely to be seriously injured in an accident with a car or truck. Motorists can do their part to keep motorcyclists safe by: Always Check Mirrors and Blind Spots—Motorcycles can be hard to see, especially when they’re in your blind spot. Check your mirrors,but also be sure to turn around and check your blind spot before changing lanes or turning Give Them the Whole Lane—Motorcycles are entitled to an entire lane on the road. It is extremely dangerous to attempt to share a lane with a motorcycle. Give Them Extra Room—Because motorcycles stop differently from other vehicles, it’s important to leave plenty of stopping distance between you and the motorcycle. Be Aware—The best thing you can do to keep motorcycles safe is to stay alert and keep in mind that you’re sharing the road with motorcycles. Tips for Motorcyclists Motorcyclists can also do their part to stay safe. Operating a motorcycle takes different skills than driving a car, so it is important to take steps to stay safe including: Wear a Helmet—One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself on a motorcycle is to wear the proper helmet. Helmet use saves lives. Wear Protective Gear—Protective clothing and gear can help minimize injuries in case of an accident. Obey Traffic Rules—Motorcyclists aren’t exempt from traffic rules so make sure you are riding under the speed limit, following traffic signals, and don’t break the rules by engaging in dangerous maneuvers like lane-splitting. Ride Defensively—While motorists have an obligation to be aware of motorcycles, don’t assume that you are visible to other vehicles. Always keep your headlights on, try to stay out of a driver’s blind spot, and signal in advance of any change in direction. Contact a Trusted Motorcycle Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may want to consult with a trusted and experienced motorcycle accident attorney. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have extensive experience helping Floridians injured in motorcycle accidents, and we’re here to help you. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation. 

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Blindspot Awareness and Motorcycle Safety

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

Riding a motorcycle can be dangerous, especially if the driver of a vehicle can’t see you. Drivers of any type of vehicle have a responsibility to be aware of their blind spots at all times. When another vehicle or a motorcycle enters the blind spot, a driver is unable to see them in either the side view or rearview mirrors. Because of its smaller profile, a motorcycle is even more difficult to see in a blind spot. What is a Blind Spot? A blind spot is an area of the road that cannot be seen by a driver looking through the front windshield, side view mirrors, or rearview mirrors. All vehicles have blind spots to the side and rear to the left and right.  Checking blind spots for other vehicles is the responsibility of all drivers. Many motorcycle accidents in Florida are the result of drivers not seeing a motorcycle and hitting them. If drivers only use their mirrors when changing lanes, they are not driving safely.  Tips for Drivers As a driver, it is important to be aware of your blind spots at all times. Here are some steps you can take to stay safe: Adjust your rearview mirror so you can see the entire rear window of your vehicle from the passenger seat. To properly adjust the driver’s side view mirror, place your head against the window and adjust the mirror to where you can barely see the side of your car. To properly adjust the passenger’s side view mirror, place your head above the center console and adjust the mirror so you can barely see the side of your car. Always turn and check your blind spot before turning, changing lanes, and backing up. Tips for Motorcyclists While there’s not much a motorcyclist can do if a driver fails to check behind them, there are steps that can be taken to avoid being in someone’s blind spot. Be aware of where a vehicle’s blind spot may be. Keep in mind that the larger the vehicle, the larger the blind spot. This is especially true for large commercial trucks. If you can’t see the driver in their side view mirror, then the driver can’t see you Do not travel beside another vehicle as that is often where the blind spot is. Stay slightly ahead or slightly behind to remain visible. Contact a Tampa Bay Motorcycle Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, the claims process can be complicated. You may want an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience helping people injured in motorcycle accidents. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 today to set up your free consultation. 

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How to Safely Share the Road With Motorcycles

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

Avoiding accidents and keeping the roads safe is the responsibility of drivers of all types of vehicles. Drivers of cars, trucks, 18-wheelers, and motorcycles must be aware, not only of what they are doing but what the vehicles around them are doing. Anticipating and properly reacting to the moves of other drivers can save lives and prevent serious accidents. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable on the road because they are less visible and less protected than other drivers. To keep motorcyclists safe on the road it’s important to follow these tips: Check Your Mirrors and Blind Spots One of the most common causes of accidents involving motorcycles is a failure by drivers to check their blind spots. It is more difficult to see a motorcycle than it is to see other vehicles. It is important to always triple check your mirrors and blind spots when making turns or changing lanes. Give Motorcycles Space When you come up on a motorcycle, give them room to drive safely. Treat motorcycles like other vehicles and don’t follow too closely. Many motorcycles come to a rolling stop,and you may not see their brake lights, so it’s important to be aware of their movements. Although it is illegal in Florida, be aware of lane splitting. The motorcycle behind you may make a sudden move and go between your vehicle and the vehicle next to you.  Be Careful When Passing Avoid cutting off motorcycles when passing. If you pull in front of a motorcycle without leaving enough space, you can cause the rider to over brake resulting in a slide or a fall. In addition, don’t attempt to share a lane with a motorcycle when passing. Give them full use of the entire width of the lane. Don’t Drive Distracted Using a phone, texting, or fiddling with your navigation system can take your attention off the road. This is especially dangerous when faced with the low visibility of motorcyclists. Turn off the distractions and keep your focus on the road. Contact a Trusted Motorcycle Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need the help of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have been trusted to help the injured for over 30 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.

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Baby Boomers at Increased Risk for Motorcycle Fatalities

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

The baby boomer generation grew up with a motorcycle as the ultimate symbol of cool. Baby boomers brought motorcycle riding into the mainstream. But people aged 60 and older are also dying in motorcycle accidents at a higher rate compared to other age groups. A study by AAA analyzed federal crash data and found that the fatality rate for motorcycle riders aged 60 and over rose more than 20% in 2016 over prior years. This is 4 times more than the overall 5% increase in motorcycle fatalities.  Over the past decade, the median age for motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes has increased substantially. This is due in part to the fact that the number of motorcyclists aged 65 and over has increased by 33% over the past decade. If there is a large number of older bikers on the road, the risk of accidents resulting in a fatality is higher. There are other factors, however, that can explain the increase in fatalities. More Susceptible to Serious Injury Older motorcycle riders need to ride more defensively than younger drivers to make up for slower reaction times. Older riders are also more prone to serious injury if they are involved in a crash. They are more fragile than younger drivers and are more likely to sustain life-threatening injuries. Cultural Factors Many older riders pick the hobby back up in their retirement years. This leads to people who haven’t been on a motorcycle in 30+ years suddenly starting up again. Their motorcycle skills may be rusty. That’s why it’s important for baby boomers who start riding again to undergo retraining to brush up on their skills. In addition, over time, the bikes themselves have become larger and more powerful than they used to be.  Baby boomers may also be less likely to wear a helmet because helmets weren’t as common back in their day. In states like Florida where helmets aren’t mandatory, this can lead to many helmetless older motorcyclists on the road. Helmets are key to reducing one’s risk of injury. Contact a Florida Motorcycle Attorney If you’ve been involved in a Florida motorcycle accident, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your case. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience helping injured Floridians. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to set up your consultation.

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Lane Splitting in Florida

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

While lane splitting is not legal in Florida, the debate is ongoing. Proponents of lane splitting believe it can help reduce traffic congestion and reduce carbon emissions. Those who are against lane splitting believe that it is a dangerous practice that can lead to more motorcycle accidents. Despite the fact that it is not legal, lane splitting continues to occur across Florida. What is Lane Splitting? Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle rides over the dashed painted lines in the roadway to pass between slow moving vehicles. Lane splitting is most often used in slow moving or stopped traffic and allows motorcycles to use the space between cars to move ahead of the slower moving vehicles. Florida lawspecifically prohibits lane splitting, but many experienced riders still use the practice to cut down their commute time. Is Lane Splitting Safe? Proponents of lane splitting believe it can be safer for motorcyclists because it can help them avoid rear-end collisions with distracted drivers in stop-and-go traffic. Opponents of the practice say that it may be more dangerous for motorcyclists as they might be struck by cars that suddenly change lanes. In addition, it can be startling to drivers to have a motorcycle come up behind them.   It is important that drivers of motor vehicles stay aware of motorcycles and their surroundings. Lane splitting still happens so drivers should look out for motorcycles, especially when sitting in stop-and-go traffic.  Can Lane Splitting Affect my Personal Injury Claim? If an accident occurs when a motorcyclist is lane splitting, then the motorcyclist will presumably be liable for the accident. A motorcyclist who is at fault for an accident will generally not be able to recover damages for their injuries. However, if it can be proven that the other driver was negligent in some way, such as driving while on a cell phone or performing other careless driving maneuvers, it may be determined that the driver contributed to the accident. Under the doctrine of contributory negligence, the motorcyclist then may be able to recover some of their damages based on their percentage of fault.  Contact a Trusted Attorney If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Choosing the Right Motorcycle Helmet

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

While a motorcycle helmet is not always required in Florida, everyone knows it’s a good idea to wear one. Serious head injury is common among fatally injured motorcyclists in Florida because riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle. Motorcycle helmets are 37% effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and 67% effective in preventing brain injuries. It’s important to make sure you have the right motorcycle helmet to stay as safe as possible. There are some important factors you should take into consideration when purchasing a helmet: Get the Correct Size Determining whether a motorcycle helmet is the correct size goes beyond determining if you are “small,” “medium,” or “large.” The ideal fit involves determining head size. Measure the circumference of your head and compare it to the size charts manufacturers put together for each helmet. A correctly sized helmet will move slightly but will pull on the skin of the scalp and face to prevent rotation or large movements. Make sure to try on the helmet before purchasing it to ensure the correct fit and comfort. A new helmet should generally fit more snugly because it becomes a little looser after use. Choose the Safest Motorcycle Helmet Type There are numerous styles of helmets, but the three main types are full face, ¾, and ½. A full-face helmet is the safest choice because it offers the most coverage surrounding your face and neck. A full-face helmet also includes a chin bar which other helmets lack. Chin bars can protect you from serious injury if your face hits the pavement in an accident. You should also make sure your helmet has a thermoplastic or reinforced composite shell-like polycarbonate. You should also look for a helmet that has an impact-absorbing liner and a chin strap. Motorcycle Helmet Safety Standards Motorcycle helmets must meet standards laid out by the Department of Transportation. Approved helmets should have a “DOT” sticker. Some motorcycle helmet manufacturers go beyond those standards and strive to comply with standards set out by the Snell Memorial Foundation. These standards, while not required in the United States, go above and beyond the minimum criteria and include helmets that have passed: Impact testing Positional Stability (Roll-Off) Test Dynamic Retention Test Chin Bar Test Shell Penetration Test Face Shield Penetration Test Helmets that meet Snell standards have been rigorously safety tested. Look for indications that your helmet has met these standards. Contact a Trusted Attorney While helmets can go a long way toward protecting you in an accident, they can’t prevent all injuries. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you should consult with an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Lane Splitting – What is it and what is the law in Florida

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

Lane splitting isn’t legal in Florida, but we see it every day. Lane splitting is the art of driving a motorcycle in the same lane with another motor vehicle when traffic is crawling or stopped on a freeway. Because of all the dangerous deadly accidents caused by lane splitting, all licensed Florida drivers must be aware of motorcycles sharing their lanes. The accident attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk will provide a free case evaluation if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call us today, we are available 24/7 at 1-800-538-4878 National Debate Wrongful death suits for families of deceased motorcyclists are frequently filed in the State of Florida despite the contributory negligence of lane splitting if the cyclist was killed due to the negligence of another motorist. Florida Statute 316.209 explicitly states motorcycles shall not: enter, overtake, or pass within the same lane as another vehicle drive between adjacent lanes or rows of traffic be more than two across on a roadway Left Turn Accidents Vehicles turning left cause 42% of all the motorcycle accidents on Florida highways. The motorist almost always blames the cyclist for the accident. Motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks, and they are frequently lost in their blind spots. Motorcycles don’t reduce impact upon collision like cars and trucks do. Leg amputations and death frequently result from motorcycle accidents involving a motorist turning left. At Fault The same legal websites and blogs involved in the national debate over the legalization of lane splitting say the vehicle making the left-hand turn is almost always at fault if a collision occurs. Whether lane-splitting was legal when you made your left turn is in the hands of the police officers and at the discretion of the judges. The police officer may look at the damage to the vehicles to determine who was at fault for the accident. Negligence The driver of a car or truck making a left turn is negligent if he or she does not yield to traffic traveling straight through the intersection. The driver who turns left must wait until the intersection is clear to turn. Striking a lane-splitting motorcycle while making a left turn is a harrowing experience, but you may be held liable for the motorcyclist’s injuries or wrongful death. Catastrophic Injuries The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that head injury and brain damage occurs in most fatal motorcycle accidents. Helmets prevent brain injuries in 67 percent of all motorcycle accidents. Negligence The driver of a car or truck making a left turn is negligent if he or she does not yield to traffic traveling straight through the intersection. The driver who turns left must wait until the intersection is clear to turn. Striking a lane-splitting motorcycle while making a left turn is a harrowing experience, but you may be held liable for the motorcyclist’s injuries or wrongful death. Catastrophic Injuries The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that head injury and brain damage occurs in most fatal motorcycle accidents. Helmets prevent brain injuries in 67 percent of all motorcycle accidents. Collisions with tractor-trailer trucks are especially heinous. A commercial big-rig weighs at least 20 times more than a motorcyclist on a Harley Davidson. Tractor-trailers cannot see what’s in their huge blind spots, and they need at least twice the stopping distance of a car or pickup truck. Yet, motorcyclists split lanes with commercial trucks every day. Contributory Negligence Lane splitting places the motorcyclist in the same lane as another motorist who is not expecting to see or may be startled by the motorcycle. A motorcycle in the same lane with a car or a tractor-trailer cannot see the driver’s turn signal. If lane splitting contributed to your motor vehicle accident, the motorcyclist may be liable for the accident. Analysis of contributory negligence can result in a reduced recovery of damages or the motorcyclist may be ordered to pay for damage to the vehicle which struck him. Road Hazards Road hazards, which simply rattle cars and trucks, can cause lane-splitting motorcycles to slide, fall, or careen out of control. Lane splitting causes accidents especially: in wet weather around objects dropped on the road over uneven road surfaces into road construction sites with unexpected lane changes Whether road hazards constitute negligence is up to the judge. Gravel can cause a motorcycle to slide, especially on the curves. Uneven edges of a road can drag a motorcycle out of its lane placing it on the shoulder or in the path of an oncoming vehicle. Road Maintenance Expansion and open bridge joints may be open too wide for a motorcycle to traverse and catch a motorcycle tire. Weather affects the expansion and contraction of these usually not noticed joints in the road surface, and a motorcycle is less stable than a four-wheel vehicle. Slicks are totally unpredictable. Slicks occur at any time due to spills, wet leaves, antifreeze, or oil on the road surface. Lane Splitting for Motorcyclists As a Florida motorcyclist, you must always be aware of the vehicles around you. You can wear protective clothing which reflects light. If one lane of traffic is moving faster than the other or only one lane has stopped, vehicles are likely to switch lanes. Beware of blind spots, and only pass at speeds slightly faster than the cars are traveling. Blow your horn if other motorists get too close to you. Duck into your own lane when speed exceeds 30 miles per hour, and remember to drive with your headlight on. The accident attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk will provide a free case evaluation if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident. Call us today, we are available 24/7 at 1-800-538-4878.  

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Motorcycle Lane Splitting in Florida

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

Is Lane Splitting Legal in Florida? When motorcycle drivers choose to drive in the unused area between vehicles moving in the same direction, it is called lane splitting. Usually practiced during times of heavy traffic or standstills due to construction or vehicle accidents, lane splitting allows motorcycles to pass slowed or stopped cars until the motorcycle driver returns to normal lane traffic. Currently, lane splitting is considered a “special privilege” afforded to California motorcycle drivers, although it is still technically illegal in that state. California’s Department of Motor Vehicle’s handbook advises motorcycle drivers engaged in lane splitting to watch out for cars suddenly changing lanes or opening doors during times of standstill. A State Assembly bill making lane splitting legal in California appears to be heading for closure, which would make it fully legal for motorcyclists to use lane splitting as a way to move through dense traffic on multiple-lane highways. Advantages and Disadvantages of Lane Splitting Proponents of lane splitting claim that it relieves traffic congestion and can improve the comfort of motorcyclists during extreme weather by allowing them to move ahead of vehicles stalled in traffic. Alternately, opponents of lane splitting say that lane splitting could potentially incite instances of road rage as frustrated drivers watch motorcyclists move freely past them while they are stuck in traffic. In fact, road rage is now among the top causes of vehicle accidents in the U.S. Interestingly, many cities in California are listed among the top 25 worst U.S. cities for road rage incidences (on a local note, Miami, FL is also included in that list). Is Lane Splitting Really Safe? According to a report by UC Berkeley transportation researchers, lane splitting does not appear to present any greater accident risk to motorcyclists or vehicle drivers than any other traffic maneuver. Analysis of lane splitting behavior found this practice to be relatively safe when performed in traffic moving no faster than 50 mph by motorcyclists who are not exceeding the speed of other cars by 15 mph or less. Authors of this report state that it was “the difference in speed between motorcyclists and surrounding traffic that was the primary predictor of injury than just speed alone”. Data included in the report also evaluated motorcycle-vehicle collisions in California between June, 2012 and August, 2013. Of almost 6,000 traffic accidents reported by CHiP, 997 involved speeding motorcycles engaged in lane splitting at the time of the accident. However, this data also revealed that lane splitters wore better helmets and were less likely to be intoxicated or carrying a passenger. Should Florida Make Lane Splitting Legal? Florida is second to California in the number of registered motorcycles on its highways–over 550,000. Although it is illegal in Florida to engage in lane splitting, many Florida motorcyclists use this driving maneuver to bypass areas of traffic congestion and sometimes lane split even when it isn’t necessary. Florida motorists should also be aware of the difference between lane splitting and lane sharing. While lane splitting involves a motorcyclist driving within the space between two cars moving in the same direction on a highway or interstate, lane sharing is the practice of motorcyclists occupying the same lane. Lane sharing is legal in Florida. When a motorcyclist is lane splitting in Florida and causes an accident while lane splitting, they will be doubly ticketed for the accident and for lane splitting. However, if the Florida lane-splitting motorcyclist can prove the other vehicle driver contributed to an accident in which they were involved (for example, the driver was weaving in and out of traffic or using a cell phone), the motorcyclist may have good reason to sue the vehicle driver for compensation. Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk If you have been involved in a Florida car accident due to a motorcyclist lane splitting, contact the law team of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today by calling 1-800-538-4878 to discuss possible compensation for your injuries.

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Hurt in St. Petersburg? What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Our Area

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,957 people died in motorcycle crashes in 2012, up 7.1% from 4,630 in 2011. In that same year, motorcyclists were about 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash, and five times more likely to be injured. With disturbing statistics like these, it’s easy to see why you’d want to avoid such an accident. Unfortunately, that is not always possible, and knowing what to do after a motorcycle accident can play a key role in protecting your rights in the event you’ve been seriously injured. Seek medical attention. This is always your first and most crucial step. Since motorcycle riders don’t have the protection of a vehicle when they’re in a crash, their injuries tend to be much worse. Of course, it’s always kind to help those around you seek medical attention as well, but first and foremost, make sure your own injuries are attended to Call the police. Report the accident and have law enforcement document it. Do not leave the scene before the police arrive, or until they’ve taken a full report (unless your injuries require an emergency trip to the hospital). Get information you may need. This includes contact and insurance information from all drivers, victims, and witnesses. It’s ideal if you can get the make, model, and license plate numbers of all vehicles involved as well. Record the events. If you have a cell phone camera and can take pictures of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, and the scene of the accident, do so immediately. Get an attorney. Many accident victims miss or minimize this important step. However, without an experienced attorney, you may be losing out on compensation you may be entitled to. You may need an experienced St. Petersburg accident lawyer A St. Petersburg motorcycle accident can be devastating, and you may need help to protect your rights. Call the staff of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk 24 hours a day at 1-800-538-4878 for a free evaluation of your case.

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Ride Safe: Avoid Being Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Clearwater with These Motorcycle Visibility Tips

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

It’s up to all Florida drivers to share the road with motorcyclists by staying aware of our surroundings and giving riders plenty of room. That having been said, it’s important for riders to do their part by ensuring that other drivers can easily see them when they’re on the road. If you enjoy riding your bike around Clearwater and the Tampa Bay area, the following motorcycle visibility tips can help you ride safely. Stay out of blind spots. Be aware of where your bike is in relation to other people’s line of sight. Remember, if you can’t see the faces of other driver’s from your mirrors, there’s a good chance that they can’t see you. Consider avoiding a black motorcycle. This may be a deal-breaker for some riders, but the fact remains that black motorcycles don’t stand out as well as most other bikes. Wear bright or reflective gear. Choose jackets, pants, and other gear that stands out and increases your chances of being seen. There’s even some riding apparel that is only particularly reflective at night, giving riders some nice options for style as well. Use a headlight modulator. Headlight modulators allow your headlights to flicker intensely, increasing your visibility when you are riding in low light conditions. Just be sure that you are in compliance with the legal regulations in your area if you choose to use these devices. Unfortunately, even the most responsible riding practices cannot guarantee that another driver’s irresponsible behavior won’t put you at risk. Be sure to give other vehicles plenty of room when you are on the road, and never assume that you know exactly what another driver is going to do next. Have you been injured on your bike due to another person’s reckless driving? Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk now at 1-800-538-4878. If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident while riding your motorcycle in Florida, you may need the help of an injury attorney who can stand up for your rights. Our Clearwater motorcycle accident lawyers may be able to help if you’ve been injured in an accident in our area. Call us now at 1-800-538-4878 to get started.

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3 Easy Ways to Ride Safe Around Tampa

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

When it comes to getting around in Florida, there’s nothing quite like enjoying the open road on your motorcycle. Maybe that’s why so many events for motorcycle enthusiasts take place in our state. Unfortunately, it only takes a moment of negligence to be involved in a serious Tampa-area motorcycle accident that results in severe injuries. Wear a Helmet According to the Florida Department of Transportation, the number of fatal accidents for every ten thousand registered motorcycles in our state has shot up by 21 percent since helmet laws were changed back in 2000. Deciding not to wear a motorcycle helmet places yourself at unnecessary risk of sustaining a serious head or brain injury in the event of an accident. Don’t place yourself in harm’s way just to feel a little wind through your hair. Ride smart and wear a helmet every time you get on your bike. Be Visible While it’s up to all of us to share the road when we are driving in Florida, motorcyclists need to do their part by ensuring that other drivers can easily see them. Some easy ways to announce your presence when you’re on your bike include: Wear highly visual apparel and/or neon gear Use reflective tape Use your headlights appropriately Avoid riding in another driver’s blind spot Practice Situational Awareness One of the best things about riding a motorcycle is that it requires you to be in the moment and aware of your surrounding while you are traveling from Point A to Point B. You can use this to your advantage by practicing situational awareness while you are riding and remaining acutely aware of everything around you, especially other drivers. Stay focused and expect the unexpected so that you are not caught off guard when another vehicle veers into your lane. Have you been injured in an accident on your bike because of someone else’s poor decisions? Call our Florida motorcycle accident lawyers now! At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, our Florida motorcycle injury lawyers have served injury victims in Tampa, Clearwater, St Petersburg, Sarasota, and the Tampa Bay area for over 30 years! If you’ve been injured in an accident in our area, call our injury law team now to find out how we may be able to help you at 1-800-538-4878.

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Tiered Motorcycle Licensing Suggested as Method for Reducing SuperSport Motorcycle Fatalities

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

In addition to the allure of the open road and the camaraderie of fellow riders, making the roads safer for motorcyclists is one of the most important concerns for most bikers because many motorcycle injuries happen in Florida. Much has been done in the past to make automobile motorists more aware of motorcycles and to enforce existing safety regulations. However, adopting a tiered licensing system in the United States may go a long way toward further reduction in injuries and deaths. What is a SuperSport Motorcycle? A SuperSport motorcycle is a bike that is extremely high-powered for its size. For example, one current model weighs less than 400 pounds, but has roughly the same horsepower as a 2012 Ram 1500 Regular Cab 4X2 pickup truck, which has a curb weight of more than two tons. The motorcycle sprints to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds and blasts through the quarter-mile in 9.9. Why Are They Dangerous? Obviously, a rider must be extremely skilled to handle a bike at that speed and acceleration, but these bikes appeal to riders of all skill levels. According to 2005 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety statistics, SuperSport riders suffer fatal crashes four times as often as other bikers. Inexperienced riders often succumb to the pull of speed-based excitement and wind up having disastrous accidents. What Can We Do About it? Japan has created a tiered licensing program for its motorcyclists with the following four categories: Mopeds: up to 50 cc Small bikes: up to 125 cc Medium bikes: up to 400 cc Large bikes: 400 cc and up In order to qualify for each tier, riders must complete the necessary training and testing. For example, the medium-bike license requires the rider to cross a balance beam, negotiate a tight slalom, navigate through a series of sharp right and left turns, brake as if he or she were in an emergency situation, and start the bike facing uphill. Each class of bike is limited in speed up to the large bikes, which are unlimited. Such a system here in the United States would not only weed out unskilled and inexperienced riders, but it also would not discriminate against younger riders who have the necessary qualifications and skills. Put Our 100+ Years of Combined Experience to Work for You If you or someone you know has been injured or involved in an accident resulting in a death with a SuperSport motorcycle, a Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer might be able to help. Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today at 1-800-538-4878 for a free consultation.

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Avoid Motorcycle Accidents in Florida with These 7 Safety Tips

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

With more motorcycle riders on Florida roads, conscientious drivers can take steps to avoid motorcycle accidents. There are seven basic steps that they can take to avoid these often tragic accidents. Take an Introductory Riding Course Riding a motorcycle is different than driving a passenger vehicle. An introductory training course can teach the basics to a novice and provide additional skills for an experienced rider. Use Independent Study Most motorcycle riders learn how to ride by practicing on their own or with help from a friend. However, a wealth of information is available through books and movies. New riders can learn about the basics of motorcycle riding through these resources. Another option is to subscribe to a periodic magazine that shows how to ride motorcycles safely. Practice Makes Perfect for Avoiding Florida Motorcycle Accidents To become a good motorcycle rider, it is necessary to practice. When first beginning to ride, a person should practice in a safe area that is not subject to high traffic. Riders can focus on aspects such as clutch control, making maneuvers in limited spaces, braking correctly and turning the bike as needed. Using some safety cones or bright boundaries can help a new rider learn basic skills. Riders should start off slow with small goals and then slowly move toward more complicated tasks. Take Another Course Skill improvement courses can help drivers continue to acquire more experience. These courses help teach riders how to ride in a safe manner and avoid aggressive driving. Ride Various Bikes A rider may get used to a particular bike, but this will not help the rider learn how to adjust to many different types of motorcycles on the market. Different bike designs require an altered form of riding. Taking this step can also help broaden riders’ skills. Use Off-Road Using an off-road track can help riders adjust to their environment and be more in tune with their surroundings. Using an off-road bike is best for this step. Go to Track School Track schools provide riders with advanced training. Riders don’t need a sportbike to participate in most of these schools. These schools help improve riders’ skills for street riding and take place in traffic-free areas. Have You Been Seriously Injured in an Accident in Our Area? Call Our Experienced Florida Motorcycle Injury Attorneys Today! If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today at 1-800-538-4878 for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.

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Rider Conspicuity and Motorcycle Safety

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

Being noticed can be a good thing when you are on your motorcycle when it comes to staying safe on local roads in our area. Riders who take basic precautions to ensure other drivers are aware of their presence lower their chances of being involved in an automotive accident and possibly needing the assistance of a Tampa personal injury lawyer. Forty percent of all two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle occur at the moment another driver turns left while a motorcycle is driving straight alongside the vehicle, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. By making yourself and your vehicle stand out visually, you’ll be less likely to be seriously injured due to the negligence of another driver. Motorcycle Safety Tips Incorporate reflective strips of some kind onto your motorcycle helmet. There a wide variety of reflective stickers available to suit a rider’s personal tastes, and using them is an easy way to ensure that you are spotted by other drivers. Wear a jacket that will help you be seen by other drivers. Brightly colored jackets are noticed much more easily than brown or black clothing. If you choose to wear a darkcolored jacket, consider adding reflective tape or bright embroidered patches to your ensemble. Ensure that your daytime running lights are turned on and operational. This is a standard feature of most of the newer bikes, but bikers riding older models may need to remember to use their low beams during the day. Consider adding a headlight modulator to your bike. These devices make your headlights appear to become briefly brighter and dimmer while you ride, which attracts the attention of other drivers. Be sure to use a headlight modulator that has been approved by the Department of Transportation. Unfortunately, even the safest motorcycle riders run a risk of being seriously injured by neglectful driver. In the event that you become injured in such an accident, it is important to seek the assistance of a Tampa motorcycle injury lawyer who will fight for your rights. Call 24 Hours – 7 Days a Week If you have recently been injured in an automotive accident in our area due to another person’s neglect, please call us today at 1-800-538-4878 for a free initial consultation. Let us put the experienced Tampa personal injury attorneys of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk to work for you!  

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Passenger Dies in Tampa Motorcycle Accident

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

A 34-year old woman was killed at a Brandon intersection recently when a motorcycle collided with a pickup truck. The incident occurred at approximately 5:30 pm on May 24, 2012. Romildo Sanches was traveling west on Valley Drive in his 2007 Chevrolet pickup and attempting to turn onto Parsons Avenue when the accident occurred. After crossing the two northbound lanes on Parsons Avenue successfully, Sanches was unable to make it onto the southbound lane of traffic and had shifted his vehicle into reverse to get back onto Valley Drive. Joseph and Pamela Bronson were traveling north on Parsons Avenue riding a 1999 Suzuki motorcycle when they collided with Sanches’s pickup, throwing both passengers from their vehicle. 34-year old Pamela Bronson was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. 33-year old Joseph Bronson was transported to the Tampa General Hospital for injuries but is in stable condition. Sanches, 51, was not injured in the Tampa motorcycle accident, and no criminal charges have been filed. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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Tampa Motorcycle Accident Inspires Man to Teach Safety Courses

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

A Port Richey man is using his prior motorcycle crashes as inspiration to teach others about motorcycle safety. Dave Cruz, 56, has had two motorcycle crashes in his lifetime. The first took place in the 1980s in Long Island, N.Y. The first accident, which was caused by a woman who ran a red light, left Cruz with only a sprained ankle. However, his second motorcycle accident, which took place July 1998, resulted in more serious injuries. In the Tampa motorcycle accident, Cruz broke both arms and his left leg. He dislocated his shoulder, wrists and elbow. One of Cruz’s knees was also torn off and he sustained numerous contusions and nerve damage. After spending more than a month in a hospital, Cruz went to a rehabilitation facility. He stayed there for another month and had to learn how to walk, talk and use his arms again. After recuperating, Cruz became a certified medical technician intermediate and volunteer EMT. He teaches now three motorcycle safety courses in our area, including Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Harley-Davidson’s Riders Edge and a class covering accident scene management. Statistics from the Florida Highway Patrol show that 18 people died while riding motorcycles in Pasco County in 2011. Statistics from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles show that 13 people died in motorcycle crashes in Pasco County in 2010. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles ranked Pasco County ninth among counties with the highest motorcycle crash fatalities. The motorcycle crashes and fatalities sometimes result in Tampa personal injury cases. Both of Cruz’s crashes were caused by the people who hit him in their cars.

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Second Tampa Auto Accident Fatal For Area Teen

Category: Motorcycle Accidents |

A Tampa motorcycle accident claimed the life of a young Clearwater woman early Thursday morning. Angelica Hall, 18-years old and a student at Palm Harbor University High School, was riding as a passenger behind 19-year-old Shay Lydon when he ran a red light at the intersection of Belcher and Belleair. Both Hall and Lydon were thrown from the Yamaha motorcycle by the collision, neither of whom was wearing a helmet. Lydon and the passengers of the Toyota Camry which stuck them were taken to the hospitas. Lydon’s injuries were classified as critical. The Camry’s occupants, Charles Manning and Patricia Muth, also sustained serious injuries. Hall was declared dead at the scene. This was the second time Hall was Lydon’s passenger when a serious accident occurred. On Friday, March 30 of this year, Hall was riding with Lydon in a 1992 Geo Prism when it collided with a Dodge Ram van at the intersection of Fisher and Curlew after Lydon ran a stop sign. In the March accident, Hall was pulled from the wreckage by emergency crews and airlifted to Bayfront Medical Center. Lydon was transported by ambulance. The driver of the van was uninjured. It appears from police reports that Lydon’s actions were the cause of both Tampa automobile accidents. Hall’s family has so far declined interviews with the media.

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