Christmas is ending and New Year’s Eve is right around the corner. In the days ahead, celebrations will be happening in restaurants, bars, and homes all over the Tampa Bay area, and alcohol will almost certainly be part of the plans. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a drink or two during the holidays…as long as you put down your keys. Driving under the influence of alcohol is irresponsible, dangerous, and as one Englewood man found out, deadly. Unfortunately, motorcyclists often pay the price in DUI accidents, as happened in this case.
Just before Thanksgiving, a 46-year-old driver from Englewood decided to drive under the influence. His poor choice killed a 19-year-old motorcyclist. The drunk driver attempted to make a lefthand turn in his SUV, without yielding to oncoming traffic. The motorcyclist could not stop in time and collided with the SUV, killing him instantly. Not one, but two lives were ruined in a moment, all because someone chose to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
We frequently reiterate the importance of drinking responsibly, but that’s not the primary point of this post. Rather, this post is for motorcyclists who share the road with drivers who make poor decisions.
Why are so many motorcyclists victims of DUI accidents?
While many DUI accidents involving motorcycles are caused when the biker chooses to drink and drive (as stated in this presentation from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation), this is not the case in every accident. During 2023 alone, there have been multiple DUI fatalities of bikers who were not intoxicated at the time of the collision. Rather, the driver of the at-fault vehicle was driving under the influence of alcohol. This is exemplified in another recent accident in Seminole County, where two individuals were killed due to an intoxicated driver striking their motorcycle from behind.
Why are so many bikers victimized in DUI accidents? There are several factors to consider:
Lack of Visibility
Motorcycles are much smaller than the average car, truck, or SUV. This, paired with fewer lights, makes them less visible on the road. This is especially true after dark when many drunk drivers are on the road.
It goes without saying, but a motorcycle offers less protection than a standard vehicle. This leaves bikers exposed to the full impact of the collision, resulting in more severe injuries and a higher chance of fatality.
Lack of Awareness or Respect by Other Drivers
Sadly, many drivers don’t think twice before pulling out in front of a motorcycle, changing lanes without double-checking the traffic around them, or limiting distractions while behind the wheel. This results in hundreds of deadly accidents for motorcyclists each year. All drivers should be mindful of bikers around them when on the road, and respect the distance they need to travel safely.
Holiday accidents could be a risk for Florida motorcyclists.
As we head toward New Year’s, bikers should be aware that their evening rides could be more risky than usual. Extra caution should be taken on both New Year’s Eve and the day following, as there will be individuals driving under the influence.
If you’ll be using your bike to get to and from work, parties, or simply for a ride to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, take measures to protect yourself.
- always wear appropriate safety gear, especially a properly fitted helmet
- give plenty of distance to other drivers to lessen the chances of a collision
- never weave in and out of traffic, or “lane split” to save time
- make yourself as visible as possible if you’ll be driving after dark (reflective clothing, flashing lights, etc.)
- be hyper-vigilant while on the road and watch for cars that are driving excessively fast/slow, weaving, continually braking, etc.
- pull over and call authorities if you suspect a drunk driver on the road. It could save not just your life, but someone else’s as well
Don’t become a statistic this holiday season. Protect yourself if you’ll be biking in or around Tampa Bay in the days ahead.
Does Brooks Law Group represent motorcycle victims?
Absolutely! Our team is dedicated to protecting our local bikers and making sure they feel safe when they head out for a ride. When accidents happen, Tampa motorcyclists call Brooks Law Group first, because they know we have the experience and know-how to fight for the justice they deserve. We don’t back down until they get the compensation they, or their family, need to heal and move forward. We are Tampa Bay’s top choice for compassionate and caring attorneys who fight for their clients and prioritize their needs.
Are you suffering after your motorcycle accident? Don’t go without the justice you deserve, or try to take on the fight alone. Contact us for your FREE consultation. Our contingency fee means you don’t pay unless we win. Our services are no-risk, and dedicated to victims people just like you. When accidents happen, you can always Look to Brooks.