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5 Steps To Help Avoid A Bicycle Accident

A bicycle can be a very valuable commodity. For young people, it can provide transportation before being old enough to drive, allowing for quicker trips to a friend’s house or getting to and from school. For others, a bicycle can serve as a fun way to exercise and stay fit while avoiding the high impact stress often received from other activities like running.

Unfortunately, bicycles expose riders to serious risks, since many individuals ride them on busy roadways. Since people driving in cars often do not share the roadway as they should, bicycle accidents are prevalent in cities all over the United States. The slightest drift onto the shoulder or into a bike lane by a passing car can quickly lead to a bicycle rider being hit. A driver turning onto or off of a roadway too quickly can overlook a rider, run into them and cause serious injuries.

In 2009 alone, an estimated 51,000 bicyclists were injured in motor vehicle crashes nationally. Of those, 8,000 or 17%, were age 14 and younger. At least 630 people were killed in these bicycle accidents. Although there is no way to make certain drivers pay attention and watch out for bicycle riders, there are steps riders can take to protect themselves. Knowing the bicycle laws in the State of Florida, as well as following safety tips, can help riders avoid becoming a part of these staggering statistics.

5 simple steps you can take to avoid or lessen a potentially fatal bicycle accident include:

  • Wear a helmet! Florida Statute §316.2065(3) requires a bicycle rider and passenger less than 16 years of age to wear a helmet that is properly fitted and fastened securely that meets a nationally recognized standard. Even if you are over 16, helmets can still provide you with protection!
  • Turn off the iPod! Florida laws prohibit bicycle riders from wearing a headset or other listening devices while riding. Cars certainly cannot hear you, so it is important that you are able to hear them!
  • Use bike lanes! If a marked bicycle lane is provided, bicyclists must use the bicycle lane. Sidewalks can be a safe alternative too, but remember to follow all pedestrian regulations if you do so.
  • Use a light! When riding after sunset, bicycle riders must use lights, both on the front and rear of their bicycle. Make sure drivers can see you!
  • Follow the “Rules of the Road!” A bicyclist riding in the roadway must adhere to all vehicle regulations, including driving on the right side of the roadway and obeying all traffic control devices, such as stop signs and traffic lights.

Be alert and follow the laws and these tips to help reduce your risk of becoming injured in a bicycle accident. For more information and statistics, please visit www.floridabicycle .org.

Also, remember that if you or a loved one is involved in a bicycle crash, you can always seek help from a legal professional knowledgeable about bicycle accidents. The Daytona Beach personal injury attorneys at Rue & Ziffra are ready to take your call and fight to protect your rights. For more information, contact Rue & Ziffra, at 1-888-246-8613

The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.

5 Steps To Help Avoid A Bicycle Accident
Written by: Edward Rue, Esq.
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Motorcycle Safety Tips

During annual motorcycle event weeks, Volusia County welcomes a tremendous number of motorcycle riders. Due to the high influx of visitors and crowded streets, many motorcycle accidents can occur during this event. As a result, it is important to take precautions when riding a motorcycle in every situation! Below are a few tips anyone can take to help the prevention of motorcycle accidents:

  • Seek proper training. Learning to drive a motorcycle is different than that of automobiles, and drivers can take special training classes in order to learn proper ways of handling the machine. For class information, please visithttp://www.floridasafety.org/ and follow the “course list” link.
  • Abide by normal road regulations. Laws related to speed, passing and stopping (to name a few) apply to all drivers, including motorcyclists.
  • Use safety gear. If a motorcyclist is involved in an accident, wearing safety gear may help to prevent or reduce the amount of injury they may sustain. Such gear can include helments, heavy jackets, boots and gloves.
  • Make yourself visible. Automobile drivers may claim that motorcyclists are often “hidden” from their sight, making it easier to result in a collision with them. To help avoid this, motorcyclists can help make themselves more noticeable by using headlamps, staying in the middle of the lane, riding with a group of other bikes and wearing brightly colored clothing.
  • Abide by Florida Helmet Law. In Florida, you are required to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle if you are under the age of 21. If you are 21 or older, you do not have to wear one as long as you have purchased at least $10,000 in health insurance coverage.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle helmet use has been increasing in the past five years. Usage rose from 48 per­cent in 2005 to 67 percent in 2009.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle crash, you can always seek legal help from a motorcycle attorney. A lawyer who is knowledgeable in the laws governing motorcycle crashes and negligence can help you receive the financial restitution you deserve because of someone else’s negligence.

The Daytona motorcycle attorneys at Rue & Ziffra, have handled numerous motorcycle crash cases and have the knowledge and experience to help victims of motorcycle accidents through tough legal processes.

The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.

Motorcycle Safety Tips
Written by: David L. Sweat, Esq.
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Why Your Motorcycle Should Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Each year, thousands of unfortunate bikers are struck by negligent automobile drivers. Unlike the protection a car can provide its driver during an impact, motorcyclists have little to protect them when involved in a crash. It is no secret, then, that motorcycle accidents typically result in more serious injuries for the biker than auto accidents.

According to the National Safety Council, there is a motorcycle accident in the United States causing serious bodily injury every 14 seconds. In addition the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2006 4,798 motorcycle riders died in motorcycle crashes while another 87,000 motorcyclists were injured.

The failure of other drivers to detect and recognize the presence of motorcycles is the predominant cause of motorcycle accidents. Unfortunately, the State of Florida does not mandate bodily injury coverage for automobile drivers and therefore more than one-third of all vehicles on Florida’s roads are uninsured for liability coverage. Considering the serious injuries that motorcyclists often sustain in motorcycle accidents, a whopping two-thirds of all vehicles on Florida’s roads and highways are inadequately insured. If you’re struck by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, there is a high probability that there will not be adequate insurance to compensate you for the injuries and damages that you sustain.

That’s why it is important to purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle and automobile insurance policies.

Who Causes Motorcycle Accidents?

The Hurt Report is the most comprehensive study of motorcycle accidents and causes in the United States. This report found that the majority of all motorcycle accidents are caused by the negligence of the operator of an automobile. Most motorcycle accidents occur at intersections when the other vehicle turns into the motorcycle’s lane of travel, violating the motorcyclist’s right-of-way. In most of these cases, the other driver simply did not see the approaching motorcycle.

The second most common cause of motorcycle accidents occurs when a motorcycle is slowing and the driver of an automobile does not notice the motorcycle in time to stop their vehicle safely. Instead, the automobile runs into the back of the motorcycle.

Uninsured Drivers Are More Common Than You Might Think

Although Florida requires all registered automobiles to have No-Fault Insurance, the state does not mandate the purchase of liability insurance. In short, bodily injury liability insurance is the coverage that an individual would purchase to protect them in the event that they are negligent and cause injury to another motorist. Various reports indicate that up to 15% of all drivers in the United States do not have any insurance at all and that up to one third of drivers in the State of Florida maintain no liability insurance.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America estimates that unlicensed and uninsured drivers are involved in more than 20% of all fatal accidents in the United States. This means that if you’re operating a motorcycle and you’re struck by another vehicle in the State of Florida, there is a one in three chance that that negligent motorist will have no liability insurance at all and a two in three chance that they will have inadequate liability insurance to compensate you for your injuries and damages.

What Happens if an Uninsured Driver Causes a Motorcycle Accident?

The impact of being involved in a motorcycle accident can be devastating and can permanently change your life. If an accident is caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, the financial impact of medical bills, lost wages and loss of earning capacity can leave you financially destitute. If the negligent automobile operator who causes you injury does not have liability insurance, one of your strongest options is to hire an attorney, sue them and attempt to collect any judgment from them personally.

Unfortunately, most people purchase automobile insurance in amounts correlating to potential assets that they have. Therefore, in the vast majority of cases, individuals who are uninsured or underinsured are usually uncollectible. In addition, Florida’s homestead laws protect an individual’s home and all their equity from judgments and negligent drivers can avoid most or all of a judgment by filing bankruptcy.

The Importance of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance is vital if you are going to operate a motorcycle in the State of Florida. By law this coverage must be offered to an individual who purchases liability insurance on a motorcycle, truck, car or other personal land motor vehicle and can only be avoided if the named insured signs a special rejection form that is approved by the Florida Department of Insurance.Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects you while operating your motorcycle, anyone else operating your motorcycle or any passenger that you may have on your motorcycle if you are involved in an accident with someone who doesn’t have any bodily injury liability, or who has minimal amount of this insurance.

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

What is commonly referred to as uninsured motorist coverage in the State of Florida actually has the legal name of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or UM/UIM coverage. Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage protects you, anyone operating your motorcycle, or any passenger on your motorcycle in situations that involve an at fault driver who does not have any liability insurance or does not have enough liability insurance to compensate you for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages or loss of earning capacity.

Uninsured motorist coverage applies in situations where the at-fault driver has no liability insurance at all.

Underinsured motorist coverage applies in the event that your injuries or damages exceed the amount of liability coverage that the at-fault party has purchased. In this situation, your underinsured motorist coverage will apply after the bodily injury coverage that the negligent party purchased has been exhausted (used in full). Your UIM coverage will then compensate you for the balance of your injuries and damages up to the policy limits of the amount of UIM coverage you purchased.

Florida is one of the few states in the country that offers stacking uninsured motorist coverage.

  • Non-stacking uninsured motorist coverage applies uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on a particular vehicle. That means that you can only access the amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that you purchased on the motorcycle and only if you are operating that motorcycle or some other vehicle that you do not own.
  • Stacking uninsured motorist coverage is much broader and allows you to access multiple policy limits from every vehicle that you own that has the stacking form of uninsured motorist coverage. In addition, if you have stacking uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you can access that insurance if you’re injured in another vehicle that you own, regardless of whether that vehicle is insured for uninsured/underinsured coverage or not.

How Underinsured Motorist Coverage Works

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident and you sustain a fractured femur that requires an open reduction and internal fixation with an intramedullary rod, you may have the following damages:

  • Past medical bills of $40,000
  • Past lost wages of $20,000
  • Future medical bills of $10,000
  • Loss of future earning capacity of $50,000
  • Past pain and suffering of $50,000
  • Future pain and suffering of $50,000,

Total: $220,000

If the at fault party only maintained $100,000 of liability insurance, then your damages would exceed their available coverage by $120,000. If you had a $100,000 underinsured motorist policy, you could collect the $100,000 from the at fault party’s insurance company and then you would be able to collect the balance of your damages, up to your policy limits, in the amount of $100,000 from your underinsured motorist policy.

Stacking Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If we use the same example above and you have stacking underinsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle and two different cars, the net result to you will be much more beneficial.

In the prior example you would have been able to recover $100,000 from the liability insurance and $100,000 from your (non-stacking) underinsured motorist coverage on your motorcycle, for a total of $200,000. You would still have $20,000 of damages that you are unable to recover from any available insurance source. However, if you have the stacking form of underinsured motorist coverage, you would now have $300,000 in uninsured motorist coverage that you could access and therefore you would have a sufficient amount of insurance coverage to cover all of your damages in the amount of $220,000.

Why Should You Purchase Stacking Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

There are steps that you can take to help reduce the chances of being involved in a serious motorcycle accident. You can wear protective clothing, eye protection and a motorcycle helmet. You can avoid following too closely to the vehicle in front of you, avoid blind spots on vehicles that you are traveling next to, and obey the posted speed limit. You can avoid going through intersections with yellow lights and give yourself extra distance before pulling out in front of traffic.

However, regardless of how cautiously and defensively you drive your motorcycle, you cannot control the actions of other motorists who are in a hurry, on the phone, not paying attention, or driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The best way to protect yourself, your family, and any passenger on your motorcycle in the case of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist is to purchase adequate stacking underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage on all of your automobiles and motorcycles.

If you have questions regarding your car or motorcycle insurance coverage, contact your insurance agent today and ask them about uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, you are always welcome to contact a personal injury attorney for legal help. At Rue & Ziffra, we have 8 attorneys with over 30 years of combined experienced helping individuals receive compensation for motorcycle accidents, car accidents and other types of personal injury claims.

The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.

Why Your Motorcycle Should Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Written by: Allan L. Ziffra, Esq.
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Honda Goldwing Motorcycle Recall

Honda has issued a recall of approximately 126,000 GL1800 Goldwing motorcycles due to a brake defect. The combined braking system’s secondary master cylinder in certain 2001-2010 and 2012 bikes may cause the rear brake to drag, increasing the risk of crash or a brake fire.

The recall is expected to begin on January 4, 2012 and dealers will inspect the bikes and perform the necessary service free of charge. Owners may contact Honda directly at 1-866-784-1870 and reference Safety Recall no. S03. Additional details can also be found by referencing NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 11V567000.

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