Does Florida law require a motorcyclist to have insurance? Surprisingly the answer is no. The Florida “No-Fault Law” does not apply to motorcyclists, even though they may be injured or cause injury or property damage in a crash.
The NHTSA reports that 13 cars out of every 100,000 are involved in a fatal accident, but motorcycles have a fatality rate of 72 per 100,000. Motorcyclists are also at a greater risk of a fatal accident per mile traveled.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you are 37 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than a car accident – and nine times more likely to become injured while riding a motorcycle than while driving a car.
YOU ARE 37 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT THAN A CAR ACCIDENT – NHTSA.GOV
10 most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Unsafe Lane Changes
A driver risks colliding with a motorcyclist when he or she fails to check his or her blind spot or signal when changing lanes.
Some motorcycle accidents occur when a driver opens the door of their parked vehicle in the path of an oncoming motorcycle.
A leading cause of all types of auto accidents, speeding reduces a vehicle’s chance of seeing and reacting to other drivers in time to prevent a collision. The higher the speed, the greater the impact and the more severe the potential injuries.
Driving Under the Influence
Drivers who cause accidents because they were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs may face both civil and criminal liability.
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle drives between two lanes of stopped or slowly moving cars, usually in traffic jams. Lane splitting is a common cause of motorcycle accidents due to several factors:
- the close proximity of the cars to the motorcycle
- the reduced space the motorcycle has to maneuver, and
- the fact that the cars don’t anticipate that any vehicle or motorcycle will be passing them in slowed or stopped traffic.
Rear-end collisions resulting from following too closely or an abrupt stop can result in serious injury or death to a motorcyclist.
Inexperienced drivers (new drivers/teens) are likely to make unsafe moves or overcorrections on the road that could compromise the safety of other motorists.
Left Turn Accidents
The single most dangerous situation for motorcyclists occurs when cars are making left-hand turns. These collisions account for 42% of all accidents involving a motorcycle and car. Usually, the turning car strikes the motorcycle when the motorcycle is:
- going straight through an intersection
- passing the car, or
- trying to overtake the car.
Dangerous Road Conditions
Due to the smaller size and less stable nature of the motorcycle, potholes, dead animals, slick pavement conditions, uneven heights between lanes, and other irregularities or unexpected objects in the road pose a serious safety threat to motorcycles. (To learn more about common road hazards and tips for avoiding them, see Nolo’s article Motorcycle Accidents: Road Hazards.)
The manufacturer of a poorly designed or manufactured motorcycle part can be held liable for any injuries or deaths arising from the use of the defective part.
What Types of Coverage Should You Have?
At a minimum, you should purchase bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. If you do not have health insurance or have such insurance with a large deductible, purchase med pay coverage for motorcycle injuries.
Bodily Injury and Property Damage Coverage
Bodily injury and property damage coverage protect you in case the crash is your fault and others are injured or property damage is inflicted. If the crash is your fault, you will be held to be financially responsible and this coverage will protect you financially. Med pay will help pay your medical bills even if you are at fault for the crash. If you ride with passengers, bodily injury coverage may help protect you if they are injured in a crash that is your fault.
Uninsured/Underinsured (UM) coverage
Uninsured/underinsured (UM) coverage is vitally important if you ride a motorcycle. Most crashes result in serious injury and if the at-fault party has no bodily injury coverage or coverage with small limits, you will not be compensated for your injuries and losses. As Florida personal injury lawyers, we stress the importance of UM coverage for all drivers, and it is especially important for motorcycle riders. In Florida, bodily injury coverage is not required to drive, and many drivers in our area have not bodily injury coverage. When you buy insurance for your motorcycle, please request UM coverage, and buy as much coverage as you can afford. This coverage is relatively inexpensive and very important. This coverage will also afford protection to any riders who are injured on your motorcycle.
Since motorcycle crashes may often result in catastrophic injuries, please purchase liability and UM coverage. This is important to protect you and your family. A board-certified civil trial lawyer can advise you on coverage and can help you navigate through the complex laws involving motorcycle crashes.
Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.