Naples, Florida is a destination for motorcyclists from everywhere, with amazing scenery and few technical challenges (aside from the occasional turtle and an afternoon thunderstorm), given the relatively decent condition of the roads. The Tamiami Trail, which runs from Tampa to Miami through Alligator Alley, also breezes right through Naples. Locals enjoy a great weekend right here too, especially in the milder winter months.
Still, Naples does see its fair share of motorcycle accidents, many of which are quite serious. Unfortunately, what most of us consider “typical” road hazards can become a deadly encounter for someone on a motorcycle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports motorcyclists are 28 times as likely to die in crashes than those in other vehicles. In a single recent year, an estimated 5,300 people died in motorcycle accidents in the U.S.
At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, we are long-time motorcycle enthusiasts, heavily involved in the local bike community and fierce safety advocates for riders and passengers.
Our Naples motorcycle accident attorneys know most of the time, these collisions happen because drivers of passenger cars, light trucks, sport utility vehicles and even large trucks aren’t even watching for motorcycles.Why Drivers “Don’t See” Motorcyclists on the Road
One of the most common refrains we hear from defendants in motorcycle crash claims is, “I didn’t see him.”
True, motorcycles have smaller profiles and are less visible than, say, a large van. But that alone isn’t why most drivers miss bikers. Most drivers are seemingly oblivious to motorcycles, even when they’re in plain site. There’s actually a name for it – “inattentional blindness.” The crashes that result are called “looked-but-failed-to-see” motorcycle crashes. Ergonomics research published in the journal Human Factors found that because driving consumes such a large amount of cognitive resources, our brain automatically filters out information it doesn’t deem “important.” As it turns out, motorcycles rank fairly low on the priority list compared to larger vehicles. In the study, nearly half of participants viewing a series of routine driving situations missed vehicles that represented a safety hazard. While 13 percent of participants failed to see a bright yellow taxi, 65 percent failed to see the motorcycle.
It doesn’t help that, as the NHTSA noted, a car has almost 40 percent blind spots.
Understanding this is important for motorcyclists to understand why they’ve got to drive defensively, though it’s typically not a strong defense in a Naples motorcycle accident case alleging negligence. Firstly, no matter how a driver experiences it, motorcycles just don’t appear out of thin air. Drivers owe a duty to use reasonable care when operating a vehicle. That includes anticipating the fact that motorcycles may be present and reducing their speed, adjusting their mirrors and taking the extra moment to look twice if necessary.
Those who fail to do so (or are otherwise negligent in causing a Naples motorcycle accident) can be held responsible for paying damages to the motorcyclist, including compensation for medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation expenses, long-term disability expenses and other costs. Proving negligence is all the more important in a Naples bike crash because, despite the fact Florida is a no-fault state with regard to auto insurance, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage under F.S. 627.736 isn’t available to motorcyclists here. That means someone – the motorcycle operator, the passenger or both – are likely going to have to prove someone was at-fault to collect anything beyond MedPay.Types of Motorcycle Accidents in Naples
There is no one single greatest risk for motorcyclists, but there are several crash scenarios we as injury lawyers tend to see again and again. Those include:
- Motorcyclists struck by left-turning cars. This is one of the most dangerous scenarios for Naples motorcyclists, accounting for more than 40 percent of all crashes between motorcycles and cars nationally, according to the NHTSA. It’s a common scenario between passenger vehicles too, but the disparity in size between the two vehicles and the lack of motorcyclist’s protections exacerbates the potential for motorcycle injury.
- Lane-switching motorcycle accident. Car drivers often try to merge into motorcyclists’ lanes because they simply don’t check their blind spots, where a motorcyclist can easily be concealed. This happens frequently when motorcyclists are traveling down four-lane roads.
- Head-on motorcycle collisions. Head-on crashes involving motorcycles account for nearly 60 percent of all motorcycle deaths. The reason they are so dangerous is because when a motorcyclist comes to an abrupt stop because of the crash, his or her body continues to travel the speed of the bike, which means they are either ejected and land on a hard surface or are crushed as a result of the collision.
If you are injured in a serious motorcycle accident in Naples, Florida, call our injury lawyers to learn how we can help you fight for justice.
If you or someone you care about has been hurt, contact the Naples motorcycle accident lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. You pay us no fees unless we win.