Motorcycle Collisions

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In the 40 plus years I have been handling Plaintiff’s personal injury cases in the state of Florida, I have counseled hundreds of motorcycle accident victims. In my experience, most motor vehicle/motorcycle collisions are not the fault of the motorcyclist. Drivers of automobiles are conditioned when navigating traffic to look for vehicles with four wheels or more when checking their side view mirrors, rear view mirrors and intersections. Unfortunately, many drivers never see an approaching motorcyclist. Many collisions occur because a driver of a motor vehicle will pull forward from a stop sign into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist who has the right of way and claim that the didn’t see the motorcyclist. They will say “he came out of nowhere!” This is also true of a vehicle changing lanes while navigating the roadways. A motor vehicle operator will check his mirrors and fail to observe an approaching motorcycle in an adjacent lane and cut the motorcyclist off which many times causes extremely catastrophic injuries to the motorcyclist. Motorcycling in southwest Florida can be extremely treacherous when one considers the number of elderly drivers on the roadways, whose reaction time and vision may not be up to par. When riding a motorcycle one should never expect that a vehicle approaching a stop sign is going to stop for the stop sign, or that a vehicle traveling ahead of you in an adjacent lane is not going to change lanes in front of you because they obviously should see you in their mirrors. One must drive defensively in operating a motorcycle, especially in southwest Florid. Anticipate the potential for a vehicle running a stop sign. Anticipate and prepare yourself for a vehicle which may change lanes into your right of way. Remember, when riding a motorcycle you have little or no protection from a collision with a motor vehicle. You must drive with the assumption that the other motorists are going to do something to violate your right of way. I recently settled a multi-million dollar case for a young motorcyclist that lost his leg below the knee due to a negligent driver changing lanes and cutting off the motorcyclist, who was clearly within vision of the side view mirrors of the motor vehicle. Unfortunately, the millions of dollars will not restore the young man’s leg, or the fact that he will live the rest of his life with disability and disfigurement through no fault of his own. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Throughout May, the National Safety Council will encourage motorists to share the road with motorcyclists and be extra alert when they are nearby. If you are one of the many motorcyclists, please remember to be aware and drive defensively!

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