Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fatal Motorcycle Accident In Dunedin, Florida

On Saturday, January 30, 2016, a collision occurred at approximately 9:23 p.m. in the area of County Road 1 and Burnham Lane in Dunedin, Florida.  First responders arrived on scene to find a 38-year-old man seriously injured after being ejected from his 2005 Honda VT Motorcycle in a vehicle crash. 

Bayflite was immediately requested to rapidly transport the victim to a local trauma center due to the extent of his injuries.  According to Cristen Smith, Public Information Officer at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), the motorcycle rider later died[1] from his injuries at the hospital.

According to investigators, the 40-year-old Clearwater driver of a 2004 Dodge Durango was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of County Road 1 when he hit a motorcyclist head on.  The investigators also reported that the motorcycle rider was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.  The vehicle driver showed signs of impairment and was subsequently arrested and charged with one count of DUI Manslaughter.
Clearwater Motorcycle Statistics

The Florida Highway Safety[2] and Motor Vehicles provides that in 2013 there were 444 driver motorcycle fatalities.  Of those 444 fatalities, 204 drivers were not wearing helmets.  The department also provides that in 2013 there were 5,734 crashes statewide where alcohol was confirmed to be the cause or a contributing factor. 

Florida Helmet Law

The law in Florida[3] provides as follows:

a person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head if such person is covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.”

While about half of states have such a partial helmet law, Florida and Michigan are the only states to require medical coverage.  Although the law does not require motorcycle riders over the age of 21 to wear a helmet, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety [4] Highway Loss Data Institute provides that “because serious head injury is common among fatally injured motorcyclists, helmet use is important. Helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.”

In 2000, Florida repealed its helmet law. In the 30-months after repeal, the number of riders under 21 who were killed, despite being legally required to wear a helmet, nearly tripled, from 35 to 101, according to the Centers for Disease Control [5] and Prevention. During that time, hospitalizations increased by 40 percent, and the cost of treating associated head injuries more than doubled, to $44 million.

According to the Hurt Report, a seminal study of motorcycle collisions completed in 1981, use of a helmet is the single critical factor in the prevention or reduction of head injury. Helmeted riders and passengers had significantly fewer and less serious head and neck injuries.  Additionally, the Hurt Report found no meaningful reduction in traffic sounds, pre-crash visual field, loss of attention or other accident causation related to helmet use. Nor was there any discernable increase in the risk of lower head or neck injuries as a result of helmet use.

Pinellas County Motorcycle Licensing

Motorcycle drivers in Florida must obtain either a motorcycle endorsement on the current driver’s license or a motorcycle-only license in order to operate a motorcycle whose engine is larger than 50 cc. Florida requires motorcycle drivers under the age of 21 to complete a motorcycle safety course before obtaining either the endorsement or the motorcycle license. If a driver is at or over age 21, he or she may opt to take the knowledge and skills test in lieu of the safety course. Though insurance is not required to register motorcycles in Florida, motorcyclists who are involved in an accident in the Sunshine State are liable for property damage and bodily injury incurred during the accident. They must also purchase personal injury insurance in order to keep their motorcycle endorsement and prevent tag suspension on their motorcycle.

Clearwater Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident involving a motorcycle, it is important to speak to a Clearwater motorcycle accident attorney.  At the Dolman Law Group, our skilled motorcycle accident attorneys investigate your case and protect your rights under Florida law to make sure you receive all of the compensation to which you are entitled.  Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900



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