A man riding a 2005 Kawasaki Ninja died when his motorcycle collided with a Chevy K1500 pickup truck. Paramedics took the passenger of the bike to a local hospital with serious injuries. 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 paramedics took the passenger to St. Joseph’s Hospital in serious condition. Luckily, the pickup driver did not sustain any injuries.
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 compare the fatality rates of motorcycle riders to passenger vehicles. The fatality rate looks at the number of fatalities of 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 behind the dangers of motorcycle riding is a concept called driver “tunneling.” This 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. In addition, drivers have conditioned themselves 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 group tunneling, aggressive driving, and impairment together, it is understandable why motorcycle riders the high fatality rate.
Liability for Passenger on a Motorcycle
Motorcycle passengers have the same liability as 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 is when the motorcycle rider is at fault for their passenger’s injuries. 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. All 50 states require coverage for car passengers as part of the mandatory insurance for drivers.
However, for motorcycle passengers, there are a few differences. In Florida, the law requires car drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP). This 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 our personal injury team. 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 of our attorneys today!