The number of motorcycle fatalities has reportedly increased over the last year across the state, causing concern among police and local officials, particularly in Tampa, where the numbers have drastically increased. Last year at this time, there had been three motorcycle fatalities, but so far this year there has been thirteen.
What is behind the increase? According to police in Tampa, some of the cases involve impaired motorcyclists who were unable to operate their motorcycle properly. Other cases involved inexperienced drivers, and still others involve speeding and reckless driving. In response, Tampa police are reportedly implementing a zero tolerance policy for speeding, reckless driving, and other violations that could lead to motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycle crashes obviously have many potential causes. In some cases, the cyclist is at fault—at least partially—while in other cases there are other vehicles on the road who fail to give motorcyclists right of way and don’t do their part to ensure they are watching out for motorcyclists.
Drivers must always be aware of when they are sharing the road with a motorcyclist. There are a number of things drivers should do to this end. These include: leaving adequate space between vehicles; watching for motorcyclists before turning and yielding right-of-way; keeping potential motorcyclists in mind when scanning the road; not sharing the lane with a motorcycle; maintaining lane position when being passed by a motorcyclist; and taking extra precaution in inclement weather, which can affect motorcyclists differently than other motorists.
When accidents occur between motorcyclists and other vehicles, it is usually the motorcyclist who suffers. The damages can be great, not to mention costly.
Source: Myfoxtampabay.com, “Alarming jump in local motorcycle deaths,” Deborah Bowden, July 9, 2013.