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 Why do so many motorcyclists die in Florida?

Daytona bike week hit the headlines for several reasons this year. One was that eight motorcyclists died in crashes, and 91 went to the hospital. While those numbers are a tragedy, they are not out of the ordinary for Daytona bike week or Florida as a whole.

How many motorcyclists have died in previous Daytona bike weeks?
In 2020 there were six deaths and 58 bikers in the hospital during Daytona Bike Week. The record number of deaths is 18 in 2006. Remember that the more people riding motorcycles, the more fatalities and injuries are likely. Between 300,000 and 500,000 bikers attend Daytona Bike Week. That is more motorcyclists than most states see in a whole year.

How many motorcyclists die in Florida each year?
In 2019 519 bikers lost their lives on Florida’s roads. That is an average of 10 per week. Figures from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that Florida outranks all other states in terms of motorcyclist fatalities.

Do Florida’s relaxed traffic laws explain motorcyclist fatalities?
Florida helmet laws are more relaxed than many states. So are its seat belt laws. Both helmets and seat belts reduce the chance that a crash becomes fatal.

Is motorcycling the most dangerous way to get around in Florida?
Motor vehicle accidents in Florida took the lives of 3,183 people in 2019. Here is the IIHS breakdown by vehicle type of those killed:

  • 31 large trucks occupants
  • 160 cyclists
  • 591 motorcyclists
  • 591 pick up/SUV occupants
  • 713 pedestrians
  • 975 car occupants

It is no surprise that there are more fatalities among pedestrians and car users. More people walk and drive than ride a motorcycle. Only California and Texas saw more lives lost on the roads during 2019 than Florida, according to the IIHS. It is no coincidence that they are the three most populous states.

As a motorcyclist, you are always vulnerable to the actions of other road users. You travel at higher speeds than pedestrians and cyclists, so you will fall harder if you crash to avoid them. If a driver knocks you off your motorcycle, you have less protection and are likely to suffer more injuries than them. It is crucial to understand your options if injured in a motorcycle or car accident.

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