Recently, motorcycle enthusiast held rallies in Tallahassee and in other areas of Florida to make a plea for tougher traffic laws in Florida. Many bikers, these motorcycle enthusiasts claim, have been killed in car accidents, but current Florida traffic laws often do not do a good job of going after dangerous drivers. The bikers claim that if traffic laws across the state were strengthened, fewer people would be killed in car accidents involving motorcycles.
Some bikers claim that current state traffic laws are one-sided. While the laws penalize motorcycle riders who cause car accidents, cars who cause accidents with motorcycles are often not penalized. In some cases, car drivers who cause an accident with a motorcycle are given a simple ticket. In some cases, these tickets are only eighty dollars, even in accidents that prove fatal to a motorcyclist.
Many bikers want to see mandatory community service and thousand-dollar fines for car drivers who cause accidents involving motorcycles. Currently, most vehicle drivers who cause such accidents get no demerit points on their license and no additional penalties beyond a minimum ticket. Many bikers want to see minimum penalties raised, especially in accidents causing motorcyclist fatalities.
With a floundering economy, more people are using motorcycles to get around, since these modes of transportation cost less and use up less fuel. However, many bikers note that current state laws put all motorcycle enthusiasts at risk. With more motorcyclists on the road, unsafe laws could mean more accidents, bikers say.
Many motorcyclists believe that it is mainly car drivers who cause accidents between motorcyclists and other vehicles. Bikers point out that driving a motorcycle requires full attention, while car drivers have often been caught texting, talking on cell phones, and engaging in other distracting behaviours behind the wheel. Some motorcycle patrol officers, however, note that there is little that can be done in an accident from a legal standpoint if aggressive driving is not the cause of an accident. If a collision takes place without aggressive or dangerous driving, then the car driver is simply given a traffic ticket.
Part of the problem, of course, is the difference between a car and a motorcycle. Drivers in a car are protected by airbags and by surrounding glass and metal. Motorcyclists are not enclosed, so it is easier for them to sustain serious burn injuries, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other personal injuries in the event of a crash. Motorcyclists have no barriers between themselves and the road and are therefore more likely to be thrown in the event of an accident.