Some argument has ensued over whether the crash on July 1 was a failure to yield accident or something else. Regardless, two people lost their lives. Those two were the riders on a 1997 Honda motorcycle driving on Seminole Blvd., northbound, at 114th Avenue North. The motorcycle hit a 2015 Volkswagen Golf on the right front side, causing fatal injuries to the motorcycle riders. Both were residents of Bradenton, Florida. One was identified as 40-year old Jonathan Daniel Pierce and the other was Ashley Lynn Andree, 24 years old. The investigation determined that they were both wearing helmets and that no alcohol was involved. The immediate determination was that the 66-year-old driver of the Volkswagen Golf, Daniel McLaughlin of Largo, Florida, failed to yield to the motorcycle.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT FAILURE TO YIELD MEANS?
Under Florida Statutes, “failure to yield” means that a “person does not slow down or come to a stop for a vehicle or pedestrian when they should have.” The 2017 Florida Statutes, Title XXIII, Chapter 316, Section 316.121 states that:
(1) The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle which has entered the intersection from a different highway.
(2) When two vehicles enter an intersection from different highways at the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.
It has been found that failure to yield to motorcycles is a leading contributing factor to the number of serious motorcycle accidents seen in Saint Petersburg and all over Florida every year.
WHY ARE MOTORCYCLES PRONE TO BE INVOLVED IN FAILURE TO YIELD ACCIDENTS?
Motorcyclists have the same rights as every other driver on the road. Some experts believe the problem is that people do not gauge their distance or speed correctly because there is only one headlight. Others believe that a car driver’s subconscious does not register that they themselves are not in danger, so they do not pay as much attention.
All that means is drivers need to be more cautious around motorcyclists, and vice versa. It’s called respect and paying attention to your immediate surroundings, which is especially important for ALL drivers of ALL vehicles when we’re out on the roads.
In 2013, a Florida Department of Transportation study came to the conclusion that those driving cars and trucks shouldered most of the blame for accident collisions with motorcycle riders. “Motorists driving cars and trucks are mostly at fault, often failing to yield the right-of-way to the smaller vehicles.” A senior researcher at the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, Chanyoung Lee, came to this conclusion after analyzing 10 years of data.
In another study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the “Fatal Two-Vehicle Motorcycle Crashes,” researchers found some startling statistics:
• Over 85 percent of crashes involving two vehicles, one being a motorcycle, resulted in at least one fatality.
• 90 percent of those fatalities were the motorcyclist, while 8 percent were motorcycle passengers.
• 35 percent of the drivers of passenger motor vehicles failed to yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists, while only 4 percent of motorcyclists were cited with a failure to yield in an accident.
Time and time again, motorcyclists in Florida are in the news for suffering critical injuries due to motorcycle crashes. In June, a car turning left struck a motorcyclist who was traveling in the opposite direction. This accident occurred on 62nd Avenue North, between 4th and 9th streets. The motorcyclist was ejected and the motorcycle caught on fire. Numerous incidents like this happen in St. Petersburg and around Florida every day. On July 11, a well-liked Saint Petersburg bartender was killed in a motorcycle accident. Ryan Stroehlein was in a Honda CBP as driver of the sports bike with Jordan Marcum as a passenger in Seminole at Park Boulevard and 128th Street North. They were struck by a 2005 Nissan Quest. Stroehlein and Marcum (who survived with serious injuries) were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle crash, possibly due to a failure to yield by another driver involved, you should speak to a personal injury attorney. He or she will be able to help you determine what recourse is available to you.