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Motorcycle Passenger Safety In Florida

Motorcycle Passenger Safety In Florida

It’s not uncommon for motorcyclists to feel the urge to share their love of the ride with friends and family. One of these ways is to have someone hop on the back and go for a ride. It’s the driver’s job to pay attention to the road and make the ride as smooth as possible, but the motorcycle passenger also has a very important job to keep the ride as safe as possible. While this is all fun and exciting, motorcycle accidents can still happen. As the number of motorcyclists increases each year, we can easily say that the number of motorcycle accidents also increases. Florida has a high rate when it comes to motorcycle accidents and fatalities. If we compare 2014 to 2016, the number of motorcycle crashes jumped from 9,854 to 10,331. That is a 4.77% increase in just two years. Comparing the number of fatalities between the two years, from 247 to 515, shows an increase of 2.68%.

Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents

There are several factors that can lead to a motorcycle accident. Is the driver paying attention to their surroundings? Perhaps a car didn’t see a motorcycle and hit them. There could have been gravel on the road and it caused the tires to slip. Weather conditions could also be a factor. Roads that are wet from rain pose a serious threat to motorcyclists and their passengers because they are slippery and the tires can easily lose traction. Careless people mowing their lawns will often leave their clippings in the road and can cause motorcycles to wreck.

The Dangers Of Being a Motorcycle Passenger

Motorcycle Passenger Safety In FloridaResearch shows that motorcycle passengers have a higher rate of suffering a traumatic brain injury than the drivers, nearly a 6% higher rate, even when wearing a helmet. While that may not seem like much, think of the number of passengers that could have sustained these serious injuries. But why do the passengers have a higher risk? Because passengers are more easily ejected from the motorcycle in an accident. The motorcycle driver has a windshield or the grip of the steering column to help keep them from being ejected. The passenger, however, sits slightly higher than the driver and has nothing to protect them from ejection and serious injuries, including broken bones, spinal cord damage, and traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can take months to years to recover if they even recover at all. Lost wages from time off work, medical bills, and other costs make these injuries not only hard on motorcycle accident victims but on their families as well.

Broken bones are painful and can even be life-threatening. Broken bones take time to heal, causing the victim to miss work while recovering. That means lost wages and stacking medical bills.

A spinal cord injury is an injury to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function, such as mobility and feeling. When the spinal cord is damaged, the messages of the brain cannot get through. This often leaves the victims paralyzed, either from the waist down, from the waist-up, or their whole bodies. 

A traumatic brain injury is a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, the head suddenly and violently hitting an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters the brain tissue. This type of injury includes a skull fracture, a hematoma, and a cerebral contusion. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe.  Mild cases may result in a brief change in mental state or consciousness. Severe cases may result in extended periods of unconsciousness, coma, or even death.

Educating New Motorcycle Passengers In Riding Safety

Riding on a motorcycle is an exciting experience that can be shared with other people, but it can also be very dangerous if not done safely. Motorcycle riders have the responsibility of educating new passengers on motorcycle safety. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or brand new to being a motorcycle passenger, here are some things to help keep yourself and the driver safe.

  • Dress For The Slide, Not The Ride- What this phrase means, is wear protective clothing that covers your whole body. This includes a DOT-certified helmet preferably with a face shield, sturdy pants and jacket, full-coverage footwear, and gloves. These will protect you in case of an accident. People who wear inappropriate riding clothing often get road rash on exposed skin if they’re in an accident.
  • Hang On- Passengers need to pay attention to what’s going on and brace for acceleration and braking by hanging on to the side handles or the driver’s waist.
  • Where You Keep Your Feet- Many passengers think that they’re helping the driver support the bike by putting their feet down at stops, but it’s more dangerous because it can upset the driver’s balance.  Keeping your feet on the pegs at all times is overall safer for both you and the driver.
  • Lean With The Driver- Many new passengers freak out and accidentally counter a driver’s steering efforts by sitting straight up in a corner.  Passengers need to lean with the driver and look to their inside shoulder to avoid counter-leaning problems.

Talking With a Motorcycle Accident Attorney In Florida

At Sheftall Law, our motorcycle accident attorneys understand how stressful and scary it is to be involved in a motorcycle accident. These accidents are serious and can be deadly. With decades of combined experience, we have the legal knowledge necessary to take care of your needs and rights in these trying times and we will stand by your side until you receive the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Florida, please contact a motorcycle accident attorney at Sheftall Law at (904) 569-6025 today to explore the legal options that are available to you.