By Sean Domnick, a personal injury attorney based in Florida who specializes in Catastrophic Injuries and Medical Malpractice.
Tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts descend on Daytona Beach each year for Bike Week. This March, the event celebrated its 76th year. However, a study by AAA may put a damper on that enthusiasm for the annual event – and motorcycle riding, in general.
According to the data collected by the organization, the state of Florida has the most number of fatal motorcycle crashes in the country.
In 2015, only three percent of all the vehicles registered in the state of Florida were motorcycles. Yet, tragically, 20 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in the state involved motorcycles.
During the first weekend of this year’s Bike Week, there were three major motorcycle crashes reported in Volusia County. In 24 hours, two people were killed and six others seriously injured.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that the number of motorcycles registered in this country from 2006 to 2014 increased from 6.6 million to 8.4 million.
During that time, the number of motorcyclists killed decreased by almost half. In 2006, there were 40 motorcyclists killed for every 100 million miles traveled, but by 2014, that number fell to 23 deaths.
According to AAA data, Miami-Dade had the most number of motorcycle crash fatalities in 2015, with a total of 67 people killed. Orange County had 26 people killed in motorcycle crashes, the same number as Lee County. Brevard County had 22 motorcycle fatalities, and Volusia had 21.
The data also revealed that the most common causes of fatal motorcycle accidents are speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and not wearing a helmet.
Although it is legal to ride in Florida without a helmet, safety advocates say this is a dangerous decision riders make when they ride without one. Helmets can help protect from serious head injury in the event of a crash and can mean the difference between life and death.
Forty percent of the motorcyclists killed in crashes between the years 2013 through 2015 were not wearing helmets.