A motorist killed a motorcyclist after she turned directly into the rider’s path. The collision took place at the intersection of Rutgers Avenue and Percival Road near the University of Central Florida’s main campus. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 20-year-old Rachel Mitchell drove her Ford Mustang straight into 23-year-old John Bulat, who was thrown off his bike and suffered serious injuries. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was later declared dead.
The FHP says the investigation is continuing and Ms. Mitchell may eventually be charged.
Motorcycle Crash Causes
Thirty-five years ago, the landmark Hurt Report concluded that most motorcycle-vehicle crashes occur when a motorist turns left directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Since the rider is “inconspicuous in traffic. . .the car driver did not see the motorcycle,” the report concluded.
Road and traffic conditions are even more unfavorable to motorcycles today. In 1981, nearly all operators drove small to mid-size passenger cars or low-profile station wagons. Now, large pickup trucks and SUVs are much more common on streets and highways. As a result, riders are even more invisible to motorists.
Since many motorists are simply not on the lookout for riders, it is a good idea to increase your visibility as much as possible. Try incorporating one or more of these tips as you ride:
- Wear colorful or reflective clothes,
- Linger a few moments in a vehicle’s rear view mirror and, if possible, wait for the driver to look in the mirror,
- Weave slightly inside your lane,
- Honk your horn every few blocks, and especially shortly after you turn onto a new street,
- If local noise ordinances permit it, alter your muffler to make it louder, and
- Flash your headlight occasionally.
All these things are completely unscientific and may not improve visibility at all, but they probably cannot hurt.
Motorcycle Crash Injuries
Because of the inherently serious nature of motorcycle crash injuries, these incidents are exempt from the no-fault law. Therefore, victims are automatically entitled to both economic damages, such as medical bills, and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, stemming from injuries like:
- Biker’s Arm: When riders are thrown off their bikes, they naturally extend their arms to try and break their falls. When this happens, the force of the impact often causes serious or even permanent nerve damage in the brachial plexus areas under the arms.
- Broken Bones: Because riders are completely unprotected, the broken bones they incur in falls typically require metal plates, screws, or pins, in addition to long-term physical and rehabilitative therapy.
- Internal Bleeding: First responders sometimes focus on external trauma injuries and are not as diligent in looking for signs of internal bleeding, resulting in massive blood loss.
In addition to compensatory damages, punitive damages are sometimes available, to punish the tortfeasor and deter future wrongdoing.
Rely on Experienced Attorneys
Motorcycle crashes often cause permanent injuries. For a free consultation with a seasoned personal injury attorney, contact Reed & Reed. We do not charge upfront legal fees in personal injury cases.
From our office in Brandon, the attorneys at Reed & Reed help clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, East Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida.