With year-round riding and some of the best-maintained roads in the country, it's easy to see why Florida appeals to motorcyclists.
Whether you live in the Sunshine State or want to plan a motorcycle road trip down the Atlantic Coast, these Florida motorcycle accident statistics highlight the importance of safety and awareness.
Florida Motorcycle Accident Overview
The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department has recorded more than 6,000 crashes involving motorcycles so far in 2023.
These crashes tend to become deadlier, with a slow increase of 3% in motorcycle fatalities per year for the state. It also appears that Florida riders are more likely to die or sustain serious injuries, with the state ranking fourth for the most motorcycle deaths in 2020.
Notable Statistics and Safety Implications
Data shows that some motorcycle accidents might be preventable. Adopting safe riding practices could go a long way toward reducing fatalities.
- 6.4% of motorcycle crashes are fatal — Data from 2022 shows that out of 9.252 motorcycle crashes, 600 resulted in death. This number represents a 6.4% fatality rate, which is much higher than the 0.8% fatality rate recorded for all traffic crashes in Florida for the same time period.
- Miami-Dade County accounts for 7.5% of motorcycle fatalities — Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach are the three counties with the most motorcycle deaths. Riding in busy urban areas increases crash risks.
- Florida law enforcement issued over 2,800 no-helmet citations in 2022 — This number shows that too many riders fail to wear proper safety equipment. With around 2,500 no-helmet citations issued in 2021, more riders are adopting this unsafe practice and putting themselves at risk of sustaining serious injuries.
- There were over 4,200 citations for texting and driving issued in 2022 — Distracted driving is on the rise, making other drivers a danger to motorcyclists. Being constantly aware of what other vehicles are doing and adopting defensive riding habits is more important than ever.
- Over 28% of motorcycle crashes involved alcohol in 2021 — This worrisome statistic shows that drunk riding is far too common. The overall number of alcohol-related crashes in Florida also increased by 3% between 2021 and 2022.
- Fewer than 2% of motorcycle crashes happen in the rain — Florida is notorious for having great weather all year round. However, the lack of precipitation shouldn't lull you into a false sense of security since only a small percentage of motorcycle accidents happen in adverse weather conditions.
- 36% of riders involved in fatal crashes didn't have a motorcycle license in 2021 — This statistic suggests that too many riders lack the proper training and experience to operate a motorcycle. Consider taking a riding course to improve your skills, and don't let anyone borrow your bike unless they have a motorcycle endorsement.
- 33% of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding — This nationwide statistic shows a clear correlation between speeding and fatal crashes. Not exceeding the posted speed limit will make you safer.
- The deadliest stretch of road in Florida has 5.7 crashes per mile — U.S. Route 19 between San Marco Drive and Denton Avenue is one of the deadliest roads in the country, with 5.7 crashes per mile. U.S. Route 1, I-4, and I-95 also rank among the deadliest roads in the U.S. If possible, plan an alternative itinerary to avoid these dangerous Florida roads.
- Reckless driving is the number one contributing factor in fatal crashes — Other common contributing factors include failing to yield the right of way and failure to stay in the right lane. Being mindful of one's riding habits and following the rules of the road can go a long way in preventing accidents.
The Role of Environmental Factors
Motorcycle accidents tend to be deadlier in Florida compared to other states. A possible reason is the sheer number of people on the roads.
With over 22 million residents, Florida is the third most populated and the eighth most densely populated state. The tourism industry can draw as many as 33 million visitors in a single quarter, resulting in additional vehicles on the roads.
The hot weather is another important environmental factor to consider, with average temperatures exceeding 72°F annually.
Heat can cause fatigue when riding. It can also increase your tire pressure and make the road ahead look blurry if the asphalt gets hot enough to distort light waves.
Mitigating Risks Through Awareness
There are a few steps you can take to reduce your risks as a motorcyclist:
- Don't ride without wearing proper safety gear, including a DOT-approved helmet.
- If possible, avoid riding in busy traffic. Stay away from the deadliest roads and consider alternatives to riding during the busy tourist season.
- Always follow speed limits and other traffic rules.
- Be aware of what other drivers are doing at all times. Don't follow other vehicles too closely, and always be ready to use a defensive maneuver to prevent a crash.
- Wearing highly visible clothing will make you easier to spot, even if a driver is distracted.
- Avoid driving at night and during heat waves.
- Consider additional training behind the Basic Rider Course you need to get your motorcycle endorsement.
Staying Safe on Florida Roads
The past few years have seen an increase in fatal traffic crashes across the country. Riding a motorcycle makes you particularly vulnerable to speeding, impaired, and distracted drivers, stressing the importance of adopting safe riding practices.
Always be mindful of your riding habits. It also may be helpful to seek additional training, such as advanced riding courses. This way, defensive riding techniques become second nature and can help keep you safe while driving. If you find yourself in need of an attorney due to a motorcycle accident due to someone else's fault, visit Accident.com to find an attorney near you.