Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

A motorcyclist was killed in a crash involving an SUV early Tuesday morning in Polk County. 

According to witnesses, the 22-year-old was driving his 2006 Suzuki sport motorcycles at a high rate of speed on SR 60 when he crashed into a 1993 Ford Explorer that was turning left onto Pine Grove Road from westbound SR 60. 

Deputies said the impact of the crash caused the SUV to flip onto its side. 

According to the crash report, the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet but it came off during the crash. First responders pronounced him dead on scene. 

The driver of the SUV suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital. 

The EB lanes of SR 60 were closed for nearly three hours during the investigation. 

The investigation remains ongoing and no charges are anticipated, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2016, 33 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 19 percent for passenger car drivers, 15 percent for light-truck drivers, and 7 percent for large-truck drivers.

Road conditions, operator errors, and driver behaviors such as speeding all play important roles in motorcycle crashes. Our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have put together these safety recommendations for all motorcyclists: 

  • Take a motorcycle education and certification course. The Florida Rider Training Program (FRTP) uses curriculum developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). FRTP Sponsors offer a 15-hour MSF Basic RiderCourse® (BRC) and Basic RiderCourse updated® (BRCu), which provides an introduction to the fundamentals of safe, responsible motorcycling. This includes the knowledge and skills necessary to ride safely on the streets and highways. You can find a list of safety courses in your area here. 
  • Always wear a helmet. While a helmet is not required in Florida for riders over the age of 21 as long as they can prove they are covered by a $10,000 medical insurance policy to cover any injuries that may arise as a result of a crash, there is a general consensus that helmet use is an important preventive measure against some of the most serious accident injuries, such as head or brain injuries that can cause paralysis, permanent disability, or wrongful death.
  • Follow traffic laws and avoid speeding. Motorcycle operators are required to follow the same laws as other drivers sharing the roadways.
  • Ride in open zones. Always ride in open zones in traffic so that you have additional room to maneuver and allow you to keep away from dangerous blind spots.
  • Cover your brakes. When you are riding in traffic you must react quickly, so you do not want to be fumbling for the brake lever or pedal. Keep a finger or two on the brake lever and your right toe close to the rear brake pedal to minimize reach time.
  • Never drive drunk or distracted. Do not drink, use drugs, or take prescription medications that can cause drowsiness or other impairment when getting behind the wheel of your motorcycle. Likewise, do not use a phone while driving.
  • Maintain your bike. Keep your motorcycle working properly and undertake repairs when needed. Watch for recalls, check tires, keep your cables oiled, and consult your owner’s manual to grease the appropriate machinery.
  • Dress to be seen. Wear brightly-colored clothing to increase your visibility.
  • Drive defensively. Never assume that other drivers can see you. You need to be aware of other vehicles and drivers on the road with you. 

How is Fault Determined in a Motorcycle Crash?

When it comes to a negligence lawsuit, there are four elements: duty, breach, harm and causation. All drivers, including motorcyclists, have a duty to drive safely and follow the rules of the road. If a driver breaches this duty and causes an accident, they may be liable for damages. This can be easy to determine in cases where a driver broke a traffic law, such as ignoring a stop sign. In other accidents, this can be more tricky to conclude. In some cases, the other driver’s behavior can be deemed so risky that they are charged with recklessness. This often happens when a driver is drunk. Lastly, the accident resulting from a breach must be determined to have caused harm to the plaintiff for a personal injury or wrongful death case to be filed.

What if both the motorcyclist and the other party were at fault? 

It is entirely possible for a motorcyclist and a driver to be found to share the fault in an accident. Maybe the accident was caused by a speeding motorcyclist and a car who made an unsafe turn. In this type of situation, the percent that each driver was at fault will have to be determined. This is where the legal standard of comparative damages comes into play, and those who are partly responsible for an accident receive damages at a reduced rate based on the percentage that they are at fault. 

Let’s say the motorcyclist was 30% responsible for an accident, so that means they will only be able to collect 70% of the damages. Keep in mind that if a motorcyclist is responsible for over 50% of the accident, they will not be eligible for damages.

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Two people were killed early Sunday in a motorcycle crash in northwest Hillsborough County. 

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred just after 6 a.m. on a winding portion of Gunn Highway at Racetrack Road in the Keystone area. 

Deputies believe a man and woman were riding the motorcycle southbound on Gunn Highway, when the driver failed to negotiate a curve, hit a road sign and both individuals were thrown from the bike. 

They were pronounced dead at the scene.

A passerby, who happened to be a doctor, found the crash scene. He attempted to aid the injured man and woman and then called 911.

Deputies said it appears the motorcycle may have taken a curve too fast and went off the road. Officials said the driver and passenger were not wearing helmets. 

Deputies closed Gunn Highway between Racetrack Road and Copeland Road for several hours Sunday morning. 

The crash remains under investigation and authorities have not released any further information as of yet.  

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that in 2016, the use of motorcycle helmets saved an estimated 1,859 lives. An additional 802 lives could have been saved in 2016 if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. While the NHTSA supports universal helmet laws, Florida does not currently have such a law. 

In 2010, Florida lawmakers amended section 316.11 of the Florida Statutes so that motorcyclists in Florida who are over 21 years of age can legally operate or ride on a motorcycle without wearing a helmet as long as they have a medical insurance policy with coverage of at least $10,000. With that said, anyone who does not meet these two requirements is not legally allowed to operate or ride on a motorcycle in Florida without a helmet.

In 2016, the state of Florida saw 586 total motorcycle accident fatalities. Of those, 288 motorcyclists were wearing helmets and another 283 were not. In 15 of these fatalities, the use of helmets is unknown. With 50.4% of these motorcycle accidents with riders wearing helmets, 175 lives were saved. It is estimated that if 100% of riders had worn helmets, then an additional 108 lives could have been saved. 

This case brings up a good topic: does not wearing a helmet impact your injury or wrongful death claim? Although Florida’s current motorcycle helmet law does not require the majority of motorcyclists in our state to wear helmets, be advised that not wearing a helmet may still impact a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit filed by an injured motorcyclist or their surviving family members. Why? Courts that hear Florida injury and wrongful death claims based on motor vehicle accidents often find multiple parties to be partially liable for causing the accident. 

Florida is a comparative negligence state, meaning that a personal injury plaintiff (the injured person who is suing) will have their recovery reduced by the percentage that they are found to be responsible for causing the accident. So, not wearing a helmet, even if you are not legally required, may very well result in some fault being assessed against the motorcyclist if it is proven that injuries/death would have been reduced if a helmet had been worn. 

A 2017 AAA Consumer Pulse Survey that was recently published covering driver safety in all 50 states shows the following stats for motorcyclists in Florida: 

  1. Nearly one out of every six motorcyclists in Florida did not have motorcycle insurance (16%).
  2. Approximately one out of seven (14%) of motorcyclists do not wear a safety helmet in Florida. Another one-third (approximately 32%) of the bikers in Florida do not think that they should be “mandated” to wear a safety helmet by law.
  3. The number of Florida motorcyclists wearing the the following safety gear:
  • Face Shield or Glasses: 81%
  • Boots: 64%
  • Gloves: 63%
  • Protective Jackets: 55%

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A motorcyclist has been pronounced dead after apparently losing control of his bike on U.S. 19 and then being struck by a car.

The crash shut down northbound U.S. 19 just south of 126th Avenue for hours Sunday morning.

Pinellas Park Police believe the 22-year-old motorcyclist was speeding when he lost control and was thrown off the bike.

Police say the driver of a passing vehicle tried to stop traffic, but another vehicle drove through and struck the biker. Another vehicle struck the bike debris.

Police say everyone is cooperating with the investigation. No one else was hurt.

The aftermath of motorcycle accidents can be devastating. While some bike riders can escape a crash with just minor injuries, in many speed-related accidents, the rider can suffer life changing injuries, that may include:

  • traumatic brain injury
  • spinal cord damage
  • paralysis
  • nerve damage
  • facial injuries
  • road rash
  • broken bones
  • internal injuries
  • death

If you’ve been injured or lost someone you love in a motorcycle accident, our Pinellas County Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help level the playing field against insurance companies and fight for what you deserve. We handle all motorcycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you pay no legal fee unless we obtain financial compensation for you through an insurance settlement or jury verdict.

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An 82-year-old Winter Haven man is in the hospital while Florida Highway Patrol troopers search for the driver who caused him to wreck his motorcycle.

On April 13 at around 5 p.m., the man was on his red Harley Davidson motorcycle, traveling south on U.S. 17 in Wauchula, Florida.

At the same time, FHP says the driver of a pickup truck was leaving the Wauchula Supermarket parking lot. Troopers say the driver crossed through the southbound lanes, toward the median, violating the motorcycle’s right of way. This caused the man to crash his motorcycle into the left side of the truck.

A man who sells fruit by the road witnessed it all. There were other witnesses as well.

Troopers hope with so many witnesses, they will find the driver quickly.

FHP says the driver of the truck took off, traveling north on U.S. 17.

The motorcyclist was rushed to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with critical injuries. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Florida Highway Patrol at 239-938-1800 or Crime Stoppers.

While it may seem unimaginable that someone would hit another human being with their vehicle and simply drive away, without stopping to see if the individual needs help, it happens every day across the state of Florida. Negligent or careless drivers usually flee the scene of an accident they caused in a state of panic because they don’t have a valid driver’s license or insurance, they were driving intoxicated, or they simply don’t want to face the consequences of their actions.

Fleeing the scene of an accident is a very serious offense, especially when another person suffers injuries. Drivers who hit a motorcyclist and then leave the scene without exchanging identifying information or rendering aid are subject to ticketing, fines, and possible jail time.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a hit and run motorcycle accident in the Tampa Bay area, our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help. Even if you have no idea who hit you, we can put our resources to work for you and investigate your claim and work to identify the at-fault party. Your consultation is free and offered on a contingency basis, so there is no fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.

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A man has been arrested on DUI charges after an overnight Interstate 4 crash involving a motorcycle.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 23-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a crash on I-4 just east of State Road 574.

Troopers said the crash happened at 1:45 a.m. when the motorcycle and a 2018 Dodge Ram truck were both traveling eastbound on I-4.

Authorities said the motorcyclist tried to overtake the truck but collided with the back of the truck. The motorcyclist was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he died.  

Following the crash, the truck left the scene and turned northbound on Interstate 75 then turned back southbound on I-75 until stopped by troopers near milepost 268.

The 39-year-old was arrested on charges of leaving the scene of the crash, driving with a suspended license, and DUI.

Drunk drivers have delayed reaction times and impaired judgement, which makes them a huge risk to motorcyclists sharing the roadway. Our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are committed to keeping the roads and highways in the Tampa Bay area safe for motorcyclists. We know that injured riders often suffer significant physical, emotional and financial burdens, and we can help to lift these stresses by obtaining the financial compensation you deserve.

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A 51-year-old Largo man was killed in an early Thursday morning motorcycle crash in Hillsborough County.

The crash happened just before 3 a.m. Thursday at southbound Interstate 275 and Lois Avenue.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the man lost control of his motorcycle and collided with a guardrail.

He was ejected from the motorcycle and fell off the overpass to Lois Avenue below.

He died at the scene.

Troopers are still investigating.

Guardrails and other roadside barriers are designed to protect vehicles from running off the road or colliding with trees and other obstacles. The reality is that roadway guardrails can pose more of a threat to motorcycles than help. If a bike hits a guardrail, as this story shows, the likely result is the rider will be thrown from their bike and seriously injured or even killed.

A motorcyclist losing control of their bike is not an uncommon situation. Bikers that find themselves losing control of their bike, should try and straighten up and take as much lean out of the bike as possible to control the bike as smoothly as you can. The best way to avoid this situation entirely is to only ride as fast as you can see the road ahead of you. You have to give yourself adequate time to see and respond to any visual clues on the roadway.

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A 66-year-old motorcyclist in Westchase has died after a van struck him Saturday morning, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

According to deputies, the motorcyclist was driving a 2007 FJR motorcycle on southbound Race Track Road at the intersection of Countryway Boulevard.

The man reportedly stopped behind a silver Nissan Rogue at the intersection around 9:10 a.m., when the driver of a white Chrysler Town and Country van approached, striking both the motorcyclist and the Rogue.

The Sheriff’s Office said the motorcyclist was thrown from the motorcycle into the middle of the intersection.

He was airlifted to St. Joseph’s main hospital and was pronounced dead.

Deputies do not believe alcohol was a factor in the deadly crash.

Motorcycle accidents can happen anywhere, and they can happen for many different reasons. In many cases, a driver’s negligence or recklessness is directly responsible for causing a motorcycle accident. Many drivers simply fail to pay adequate attention to motorcyclists sharing the road. This can deliver devastating consequences to a motorcyclist involved in an accident.

After a serious motorcycle accident has left you or a loved one seriously injured or killed, our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can review the details of the accident free of charge and discuss whether you are entitled to seek financial compensation. Once we have all the facts, we can help you understand what the best steps to take next are.

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Two females riding a motor scooter were killed in a crash Saturday afternoon, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

It happened at about 4:30 p.m. at Florida Avenue and Garland Court.

Troopers said two people were on a motor scooter traveling westbound on Garland Court when it tried to turn left onto Florida Avenue and entered the path of a Chevy pickup truck.

Both occupants of the scooter were ejected. One died at the scene of the crash, and other later died at Tampa General Hospital.

No further information is available at this time.

Many people believe that because motor scooters are small and do not go very fast, that these types of accidents do not deliver serious injuries. However, when motor scooter accidents occur, injuries can be as minimal as scrapes and bruises and as severe as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord trauma and even death.

Motor scooters are light and slow, which makes motor scooters even more dangerous on the roads because there are times when they cannot keep up with the flow of traffic. This not only poses a danger to the operator and the passenger of the motor scooter, but also to the other drivers  sharing the road.

If you or someone you love has been harmed in a motor scooter accident in the Tampa Bay area, our Tampa Bay Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you act against the at-fault party and hold them accountable for their negligent actions. We will make sure that you are afforded all of the relief you deserve.

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The Florida Highway Patrol is currently investigating a fatal crash involving a motorcycle colliding with a school bus in Pinellas County Tuesday afternoon.

Investigators said the crash occurred at the intersection of 62nd Avenue North and 28th St. North. The bus was traveling west on 62nd Avenue, while the motorcycle, driven by a 21-year-old man, approached the intersection from the opposite direction.

When both vehicles reached the intersection, the bus driver turned the bus left onto 28th St. North, driving into the motorcyclists path, according to investigators. The motorcycle struck the right side of the bus, and the 21-year-old suffered fatal injuries in the collision.

None of the students or staff on board the bus were injured.

Motorcycle accidents are unfortunately far too common. School buses are larger vehicles sharing the road, so one small mistake on behalf of the driver can easily result in serious injuries and even death to motorcyclists involved in collisions.

Our Tampa Bay area Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton investigate bus accidents aggressively, and we will work to make sure you and/or your surviving loved ones get the full and fair compensation for serious injuries or wrongful death. Sometimes just settlements can be achieved through negotiations out of court, but we are not afraid to try the case in court. Our goal is to make sure you and your loved ones are taken care of financially in the future for the suffering endured.

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A head-on collision between a Ford Escape and a motorcycle left two people dead and one person with serious injuries.

The crash occurred around 4:27 p.m. on Sunday on US 98 just north of Rockridge Road in Polk County.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the Escape was traveling northbound on US 98 and traveled into the southbound lanes in an attempt to pass another vehicle.

The Escape entered the path of a motorcycle and both vehicles collided head-on, troopers said.

The occupants of the motorcycle, a 72-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman, were ejected from the vehicle. They were pronounced dead on scene.

The driver of the Escape, a 61-year-old woman suffered serious injuries and was transported to Lakeland Regional Hospital.

According to the report, charges are pending.

Motorcycle head-on collisions may not occur as often as other types of motorcycle accidents, but when they do happen the aftermath can be devastating for a rider, any passengers and their families. Serious injuries, including wrongful death, are possible.

Head-on motor vehicle crashes happen when one vehicle crosses the centerline of a road or when one vehicle is traveling the wrong way down a one-way street or highway. This can occur when a driver is:

  • Drowsy
  • Drunk
  • Distracted
  • Otherwise negligent

Any driver whose negligent actions cause a head-on collision can be held liable for any damages that result from the crash. Our Tampa Bay Motorcycle Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you understand what action is needed to recover financial compensation. We know that this cannot bring back loved ones you have lost, but it can help you move forward with your life and work towards grieving your loved one properly.

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