Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

Miami Motorcycle Accident Attorney Joseph Lipsky reminds his fellow motorists that May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. The purpose of this designation is to remind all drivers that motorcycle riders have all the same rights as any other driver on the road. Having represented too many families who have lost loved ones in wrongful death accidents involving a motorcycle versus car or truck, we know too well what can happen when car and truck drivers don’t “share the road” with motorcyclists.

With the start of summer, which brings more riders out to enjoy the longer days, Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney Joseph Lipsky, along with the American Motorcyclist Association, is making a profound plea to all drivers to be particularly conscience of motorcycle riders, by being sure to check your side and rear view mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes. While we hope this behavior is part of all drivers’ operation of their vehicles; too often in South Florida, motorists abruptly change lanes without any warning, putting other motorists, especially motorcycle riders, in danger. Incredibly, despite the continuous public relations campaigns, too many motorists continue to use their phones while they drive. Distracted driving is one of the most likely cited reasons why motorists fail to see motorcycle riders.

Many motorcycle riders understand the dangers associated with climbing on their bike, but to put those dangers into perspective, more than 4,000 riders lost their lives in motorcycle crashes last year. Not surprisingly, Florida had the third most such deaths. Those wrongful deaths accounted for almost 15 percent of all roadway traffic deaths. Of those killed, over ninety percent were men. Incredibly, alcohol use was involved in nearly 40% of all motorcycle crashes with a death. In addition to the fatalities, almost 10,000 riders and their passengers were injured in motorcycle crashes. Sadly, while vehicle related traffic deaths have steadily decreased, motorcycle fatalities have risen steadily over the past decade; and with over 600,000 registered motorcycles in Florida, it appears those number won’t be dropping soon.

As Miami car accident attorneys, we are always excited to report news of deceases in roadway deaths; sadly, however, we’ve come across a recent study from the NHTSA which shows that wrongful deaths from traffic accidents experienced its first increase in more than seven years. Despite ongoing education efforts and increased law enforcement, deaths from motor vehicle collision were up more than five percent over last year.

While experts had apparently anticipated an increase, in-step with improvements in the country’s economic situation, as highway traffic rose by almost a third of a percent last year, unfortunately the rate at which deaths occur is expected to rise by more than 6 tenths of a percent. This increase is the first in more than a seven year period which has provided about a 25% drop in traffic fatalities.

The data also revealed that motorcycle related deaths rose almost 10% over prior year, and now make up almost 15% of all vehicle wrongful deaths. This increase is particularly alarming in Florida, where we have no mandatory helmet laws. We certainly hope that the recently passed ban on texting bill will help stem the tide on distracted driving’s role in this rise in fatalities, making Florida’s roadways safer.

As personal injury attorneys representing injured victims of car accidents through the State of Florida, we are continually amazed that drivers continue to disregard the basic fact that distracted driving is dangerous. The National Highway Safety Administration recently updated their ongoing data as to the number of wrongful deaths and personal injuries caused annually by distracted drivers.

Incredibly, in the past year more than 3000 people died, and over 400,000 were injured, in car, truck and motorcycle accidents in which a driver was “distracted.” The NHSA defines distracted driving as something which causes a driver to do something other than just drive, such as using a phone to call or text or eating. Of course, texting or sending an email is the most dangerous of such activities as the driver’s eyes are taken off the road for an extended amount of time. Yet last month alone, over 200 billion such texts were made in the United States; and that number is increasing exponentially every year.

In particular, are motorists younger than twenty are the most frequent of such distracted drivers, as more than ten percent of all deadly accidents involving such driver involved a distracted driver. Yet despite this verifiable data, our legislatures continue to refuse to pass laws banning or even restricting such deadly behavior. We certainly hope that the Florida Legislature finally confronts this danger and finally does something to protect our citizens and visitors.

As personal injury lawyers helping the innocent victims of deadly car accidents throughout Florida, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches, we are certainly glad to hear that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is seeking to take action to reduce the number of drunk driving deaths.

Although the number of wrongful deaths caused by drunk drivers has dropped from an annual high of over 18,000 in the late 80s, to just over 10,000 in the past year, the needed decrease has plateaued over the past 8 years.

Proposed solutions include ignition locks which stop an impaired driver from starting a vehicle, and increased enforcement of drunk driving laws.

As personal injury attorneys practicing in Broward County, we commend the Florida Highway Patrol and Broward County Sheriff’s Office on their upcoming crackdown on aggressive motorcyclists. Too often, the reckless and aggressive driving of motorcyclists cause accidents resulting in injuries and wrongful death.

This evening, a multi-agency task force of police officers from throughout Broward County, will be traveling along I-95, in an effort to stop those motorcyclists who endanger themselves and others. The officers will be using unmarked, not typical, cars and air patrols to identify and stop aggressive motorcyclists and other drivers.

We can only hope that this step-up in enforcement will help keep everyone, including those motorcyclists who ride responsibly, safe.

All we can say is, “it is about time,” as Florida will finally require anyone who wants to get a motorcycle license to undergo a basic riding course. Given the number of motorcycle accidents, particularly in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, too many of which result in serious spinal cord injuries, we certainly believe that this new law will have a beneficial effect.

Unlike the present law, which only requires a knowledge and skills test, the new law, going into effect on July 1, requires everyone who wants to get a new motorcycle license endorsement to take a basic rider course before they can even apply for such a license. Once they past the test, the state will then notify those who applied when they are permitted to go to their local driver’s license office to get their license.

In our practice we too often see the debilitating injuries and loss of life caused by untrained and inexperienced motorcycle operators. We certainly hope this will be the first of many steps the Florida Legislature takes to protect all Floridians.

Thursday night, which is a popular night for high performance motorcyclists in Miami to cruise the streets, was a deadly night, as a twenty something year old male died this morning when he had an accident after losing control of his high performance motorcycle in Miami. The driver struck a wall outside of a Dollar Store on Flagler Street, was thrown off his motorcycle, struck a palm tree and died instantly.

According to the investigating police officer, the driver was rapidly accelerating at the time he lost control. The officer indicated that the type of motorcycle involved in the accident was capable of driving at speeds approaching 180 m.p.h.

Unfortunately, this was not the only motorcycle accident last evening, just about an hour after the deadly collision, another motorcyclist suffered a fractured leg when he struck a car in southwest Miami.

In the unfortunate start of what appears to be another deadly holiday season for accidents on Florida roadways, two Broward County residents, one from Davie and the other from Miramar, died this week when they fell off of a motor scooter, landed on US1 and were run over by other cars.

The motor scooter’s driver and passenger apparently were not wearing helmets. Usually it is tourists, and not residents, who fail to realize the dangers associated with operating a scooter, which are the same as riding a motorcycle, and consequently fail to use helmets.

Not surprisingly, since the mandatory helmet law was repealed in 1999, there has been an alarming increase in motorcyle accident related deaths. In fact, according to State statistics, the number of motorcycle fatalities have risen every year since the requirement to wear a helmet ended. As a personal injury firm dedicated to helping Florida families, we hope the current Governor will push the legislature to re-institute the mandatory helmet law.

A West Palm Beach Jury held the owners of an all terrain vehicle (ATV) responsible for the wrongful death of a 13 year old Boca Raton child and ordered them to pay the grieving parents $3.6 million dollars. The child was driving the ATV when she lost control, struck a tree and died.

The personal injury case centered around the owner’s negligence in allowing an unqualified, too young child to operate the ATV. The owners of the ATV ignored the vehicle’s warning labels, which stated that the vehicle should not be operated by anyone under 16 years of age, and allowed the 13 year old to operate their ATV.

This case serves as a tragic-wake up call to parents that they should only allow licensed drivers, and other mature young adults to operate their ATVs and other such vehicles. In our practice we too often see the life altering consequences of what seem to be fun family activities. We agree wholeheartedly with the organization, Concerned Families for ATV Safety, in saying that hopefully this result will help save the lives of other children.

Sunday evening was a deadly night for motorcycles in Miami, as two separate motorcyle accidents ended in the wrongful deaths of a passenger and a driver.

The first accident occurred on I-95 when a drunk driver struck a motorcycle from behind, killing the passenger. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the passenger was not wearing a helmet. The second accident happened a few hours later on another Miami-Dade County expressway, when a speeding driver could not manage a turn onto a highway ramp, crashed and died.

In our practice, we have represented too many families who needlessly lost loved-ones in motorcycle accidents. Considering the number of drunk and careless drivers on Florida roadways, we cannot understand why motorcycle drivers and passengers ride without wearing helmets. As indicated in The Journal of Trauma, the medical costs associated with unhelmeted motorcycle riders involved in accidents is almost 50% higher than than for those riders who were wearing helmets when their accident happened.

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