Are Bikers Wild or Do They Just Have a Bad Rap?

Due to stereotypes, bikers are often unfairly maligned. Most motorcyclists are sensible, law-abiding drivers who regularly exhibit the immense skill required to ride a complex vehicle and to safely contend with inattentive drivers and road dangers. Bikers have additional reasons to ride cautiously, because the nature of their vehicles contributes to a disproportionately high fatality rate in the event of an accident.

Unique biker vulnerabilities

Some dangers particular to motorcyclists are:

  • Small size. The smaller size of motorcycles may obscure them from drivers of larger vehicles when making left turns at intersections and changing lanes. Even those who ride safely and wear conspicuous clothing may be difficult to see, particularly if other drivers are distracted.
  • Inadequate protections. Helmets can help prevent the loss of life, but they do not equal the safeguards and restraints of an enclosed vehicle.
  • Greater susceptibility to hazards. Slick roads, debris and uneven surfaces pose greater dangers to motorcyclists than to drivers of larger, four-wheeled vehicles.
  • Lane splitting. Lane splitting can be dangerous and is illegal in Florida

Florida’s helmet laws

Motorcyclists treasure that feeling of freedom that cruising the open road gives them. Some also value the freedom of riding without a helmet. Under Florida law, riders over age 21 with $10,000 of insurance can ride without one. Note that most accidents occur at speeds less than 30 miles per hour, and statistics show that at these speeds helmets reduce both the number and severity of traumatic head and brain injuries by half. Aside from the increased safety of wearing a helmet, the decision to forego one tends to play into cultural stereotypes in and out of the courtroom. Bikers who suffer head injuries in an accident during in which they were not wearing a helmet generally receive much lower awards, even if they were not at fault for the accident.

To successfully combat any potential misperceptions in court, it helps to retain a sympathetic Florida attorney who has skillfully represented motorcycle accident victims in the Tampa area for more than 25 years.

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