A man riding a 2005 Kawasaki Ninja died when his bike collided with a Chevy K1500 pickup truck, and a passenger on the bike was seriously injured and taken to a local hospital. The accident happened around 8:30 p.m., Sunday, March 10, 2019 at the intersection of U.S. 301 and Pioneer Museum Road in Dade City North.
The Florida Highway Patrol says that the Ninja was traveling north on U.S. 301 and the Chevy Pickup was westbound on Pioneer Museum Rd. and pulled into the path of the Ninja. The rider of the Ninja tried to miss the truck but struck its back left quarter panel.
Tragically, the rider of the bike died at the scene, and the passenger was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in serious condition. The driver of the pickup was uninjured.
According to many federal studies, a motorcycle rider involved in a crash is six times more likely to be killed than the typical passenger vehicle driver or occupant.
An NHTSA study showed that in 2017, there were 40,000 people who died in auto accidents, and of those, 12.5 of those deaths (5,000) were motorcycle riders and passengers yet motorcycles make up only 3 percent of all vehicles registered.
It gets even scarier when you look at the motorcycle riders’ fatality rate compared to passenger vehicles. The fatality rate looks at how many fatalities are there for different vehicle types per 100 million miles traveled. The passenger vehicle rate in 2017 was 1.1, and motorcycle riders’ rate for the same year was 5.6 This is almost a 500 percent increase in the risk of death when a person is riding a motorcycle.
Why so Dangerous?
The biggest factor in why motorcycle riding is so dangerous is a concept called driver “tunneling” which means that a typical car driver has tunnel vision for motorcycle riders. The driver will look right at a motorcycle and still not “see” it. Experts say that it is because of the low profile of the motorcycle compared to a car and that drivers are conditioned to look out for cars not motorcycles, pedestrians or bike riders.
Another reason is the risk that motorcycle riders take. A disproportionate of motorcycle crashes are due to the speed of the motorcycle. Also, motorcycle riders are more likely to drive aggressively and weave in and out of traffic.
The third reason is impairment. Around 40 percent of all motorcycle deaths have some connection to alcohol consumption, and 25 percent of motorcycle riders who died had a BAC over the legal limit. So when you put all three—tunneling, aggressive driving and impairment—together, it’s understandable why the fatality rate for motorcycle riders is so high.
Liability for Passenger on a Motorcycle
Liability for a passenger on a motorcycle is the same for anyone injured in a crash. The person who was negligent is responsible for all damages which includes a motorcycle passenger. In a typical motorcycle accident that is the other driver’s fault, the rider of the motorcycle will be covered by the other driver’s insurance. That same coverage applies to motorcycle passengers as well.
Another issue comes up when the passenger of a motorcycle is injured and the motorcycle rider is at fault. When this happens then the rider is responsible for his or her negligence. A passenger in a car is always covered by the driver’s insurance policy as in all 50 states coverage for car passengers is part of the mandatory insurance for drivers.
However, for motorcycle passengers, there are a few differences. In Florida, car drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) which pays out for all medical bills associated with an accident for the covered driver regardless of who’s at fault.
In Florida, this isn’t required for motorcycles so that if the motorcycle passenger is injured, then he or she might not be able to collect compensation for their medical bills under the PIP provision. But this doesn’t mean there is no coverage because general liability for all vehicles and their passengers is required in Florida meaning that whoever is at fault, their insurance will pay for all damages.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a motorcycle crash similar to this one, you need to talk to an attorney. The coverage issues can be confusing, and many times and insurance company will wrongly tell you that there is no coverage when coverage exists. Don’t take their word for it, talk to a professional who is on your side.
RHINO Lawyers is the powerful, results-driven law firm, that takes Insurance Companies and Bullies “head on!” We describe our bold modern approach to “Accident & Personal Injury Law” and “Our Personal Mission” to empower Florida’s families to “Take Charge!” Talk to one or our attorneys today!