Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle Accidents in Georgia and Florida

Although we still see our fair share of Motorcycle Accidents and Fatalities, the statistics presented by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety show that we have learned some valuable lessons within as little as a three (3) year time span the following factors make a difference in saving a life while operating a motorcycle:

  1. Wearing a Protective Helmet;
  2. Not Drinking and Driving while Operating a Motorcycle; and
  3. That the Older that a person is when Operating a Motorcycle the More Likely that a Life will be Saved.

At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates we have represented hundreds of people involved in motorcycle accidents in both the States of Georgia and Florida and the injuries that we see in our law practice range from minor cuts and bruises and minor property damage to Catastrophic Injuries such as the loss of a limb or limbs, or traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries with the motorcycle being damaged beyond recognition. In the worst case scenarios, we are meeting with family members in these tragic cases since the motorcycle driver is deceased from the accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Motorcycle Accident or a loved one has been tragically killed in a Motorcycle Accident, then please Contact Us as soon as you can so that we may being investigating your case. We can be reached 24/7 by any or all of the following means: By phone at (770) 865-8654 and (813) 363-6664; by email at juliericelaw@outlook.com; or Contact Us on our contact form on the this website.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics in Georgia

Let’s first discuss the statistics that I mentioned herein above to make sense of why the numbers of fatalities in Motorcycle Accidents have, in fact, come down, in a relatively short period of time to see if we can learn some valuable safety techniques and lessons so that fatalities in motorcycle accidents become the rare occasion instead of the normal result. All of these studies mentioned here have been conducted by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. One study conducted from 2008 until 2012 focused on whether or not helmet use saved lives. In 2005, the lives that were saved by wearing a helmet was 74. Just three (3) years later in 2008, the lives saved by using a helmet had increased to 97. This study seemed to indicate that we learned that wearing a helmet did save lives.

The next study evaluated the age of the person driving the motorcycle. The study showed that the younger the driver, the more likely the driver would be involved in a fatal motor cycle crash. For example, in 2008 the number of people under the age of 20 years old killed in a motorcycle crash was 10. A year later, however, in 2009, the same age group, younger than 20, had a death rate of only 2, in 2010 the death rate was 5, in 2011 the death rate was 3, and in 2012 the death rate was again 3. This is a dramatic decrease from a death rate of 10 in 2009 to only three (3) in 2012; just four (4) years later. The study continues on with different age groups and with few exceptions by the time the age of the motor cycle rider was over 59, the death rate had reduced dramatically. This would indicate that we learned that the older and hopefully the more experienced and cautious the driver, the less risk of a Motorcycle Accident fatality.

One study that showed a very dramatic decrease in Motorcycle Accident Fatalities was a study that compared the number of fatalities in general verses the number of fatalities per 100,000 Motorcycles that were registered. For example, in 2008 there were a total of 178 fatalities in general, but only 94.64 fatalities per 100,000 Motorcycles actually registered. This may indicate that the more responsible motorcycle owner who actually registers her or his motorcycle is less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than the person who is less responsible and does not bother to register their motorcycle or simply uses the motorcycle less and, therefore, does not feel the need to register the machine. The most optimistic part of this study, however, is that by the year 2010 the total number of motorcycle fatalities had dropped to 128 which is 50 less than in just two (2) years prior in 2008 with 64.99 fatalities per 100,000 Motorcycles registered which was down by over 29 people who had been killed in just a two (2) year time span. Of course, we would like to see all motorcycle users register their machines even though this is not a guarantee of safety, but it is very enthusiastic to see that the number of fatalities across the board whether or not the machine is or is not registered has lowered by a significant amount in a very short period of time which may indicate that even the less serious motorcycle rider is taking extra safety precautions in line with their more serious counterparts.

The final study that is of interest that was conducted by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety examined the number of fatalities from 2005 until the year 2011 based upon the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of the deceased driver. In 2005, the total number of motorcycle deaths was 1,161, and 47% of those deaths (547) involved a BAC. Interestingly, the total number of fatalities from 2005 until 2011 consistently decreased to the point that there were only 839 deaths in 2011 which is almost 1/2 less fatalities in 6 years. The fatalities involving a BAC, however, between the years of 2006 until 2011 was never as low as the 47% reported in 2005 and, in fact, the percentages ranged from 48% in 2006 to 52% in 2011 with the highest in 2010 at 62%. Although these statistics may indicate that people who elect to drive motorcycles do not heed drinking and driving warnings seriously, it is very important to note that the total number of fatalities from 2005 which was 1,161 dropped significantly in the next five (5) years to only 839 total fatalities in 2010 which is almost a 50% decrease in the total number of people who were killed in motorcycle accidents. The exact numbers being 1,154 killed in 2006, 1,087 killed in 2007, 1,022 killed in 2008, 865 killed in 2009, and 806 killed in 2010. These numbers give much hope that motorcycle fatalities are dramatically reducing each year.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics in Florida

In Florida, from 2001 to 2013 there were some surprising changes in the number of fatalities in both driver and passengers on motorcycles. For example, the year 2001 experienced the lowest number of fatalities but that would climb steadily until it would peak in 2006. From 2006 until 2008 there was a small decrease, but it was minimal. There was then a more significant drop in 2009 and 2010 with yet another small increase in the years of 2011 until 2013. The main concern with these figures is not the small peaks and valleys between some years but the dramatic increase from 2001 to 2013 when the number of fatalities of drivers and passengers doubled. One of the suggested reasons for such an increase is that Florida is a tourist destination but this argument does not pass muster when in fact in 2011 91% of the fatalities were, in fact, Florida residents.

Another explanation that is more plausible is that in 2000 the helmet law was repealed so those driving a motorcycle in Florida did not have to wear a helmet. At this point the fatal crashes saw an increase in fatalities of 21% which could draw the conclusion that a person who is not wearing a helmet is more likely to suffer a fatal and serious injury if involved in an accident. There was also a spike in 2008 when the percentage of fatalities involving alcohol had risen to 41%.

A Summary for both Motorcycle Riders in Florida and Georgia

What we can learn from these studies is that some key factors in reducing the number of motorcycle fatalities are the institution of mandatory helmet laws, a requirement that all motorcycles be registered, and that the laws involving drinking and driving be strictly enforced as they are with other motor vehicles. With the introduction of more legislation that is geared towards protecting the motorcycle enthusiast and not seen as restricting a motorcycle riders freedom to experience the open road we are optimistic that these numbers will continue to decrease.

My father rode a motorcycle in the Shriners Cycle Corp for many years. Each year he had the newest model of Harley Davidson and for as long as I could remember I rode with him on the back of the motorcycle to parades and fund raisers with the the cycle corp. It was a very exciting time for me, but it scared my mother to no end and she was so happy when she saw my father and I arrive home safely after a motorcycle trip. We always followed safety measures, wore our helmets, observed the rules of the road, and enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow riders and their children as well.

Then one day it all changed. On that day, there was a tragic accident and one of the motorcyclists was killed. It happened in a flash. A car did not see the motorcycle and even though our motorcycles were very large and the drivers trained many hours to ensure the safety of the ride, the accident could not be avoided. It was also a father of one of my best friends. We were both only 7 years old at the time. I never forgot that experience and to this day over 40 years later it brings great sadness to me when I reflect upon that terrible fateful day. I did ride again, but it was never the same and I did develop a fear of motorcycles. Now, as a mother, I chime the same words that my mother would chime before a ride which was that of pure faith that nothing would happen with no logic tied to the hope that we would arrive home safely each time we went on an adventure.

At Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, & Affiliates we believe in a person’s right to exercise their freedom of the road. We have seen some tragic situations and can only reiterate to take all the safety measures possible including, but not limited to, wearing a helmet, making sure that you ride in clear road conditions, use your lights, be aware of your surroundings, and don’t assume that a car or other vehicle can see you. If, in the most unfortunate situation you or a loved one are involved in a motorcycle accident in either the State of Florida or the State of Georgia, then please Contact Us as soon as possible so that we may begin investigating your situation and recover the just compensation that you deserve under the circumstances.

Most of all, be safe out there and ride with caution and common sense while you enjoy the open road.

You may also find more Motorcycle Safety Information for both Georgia and Florida at the following links:

  1. Motorcycle Safety Program - Registration
  2. Georgia Department of Driver Services
  3. Basic Riders Course (BRC) - GMSP
  4. Earn Your GA Motorcycle License
  5. State-by-state guide to motorcycle helmet laws
  6. Florida Motorcycle License
  7. Motorcycle License in Florida
  8. 2013 Florida Motorcycle Handbook
  9. QUICK TIPS: The Importance of Riding Unimpaired by Alcohol or Other Drugs
  10. Impaired Motorcycle Operation - Riders Helping Riders (Final Report)