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2 Florida riders die when truck crosses motorcycle's path

U.S. motorcyclists have every reason to appreciate Florida. Roads are scenic and flat with weather conditions that invite year-round riding. Two-wheeled transportation is easy on the budget compared to costs associated with purchasing and maintaining larger vehicles.

Many Pensacola motorcyclists simply enjoy the feeling of freedom that accompanies riding a motorcycle. Disadvantages include lack of traffic visibility and protection. The chances of being severely injured or killed in a motorcycle accident are high.

A mid-state husband and wife lost their lives following a trip to a Polk County grocery store. The couple was sharing a motorcycle and riding through Lakeland when a garbage truck pulled out in front of them.

Polk County sheriff's deputies reported both riders were ejected from the motorcycle and died of injuries. Neither rider had been wearing a helmet. Officials haven't determined whether charges will be filed for the fatal motorcycle crash.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle fatalities increased six percent between 2003 and 2012, representing 15 percent of all motor vehicle deaths during the decade. The federal agency reported 2012 motorcycle fatalities in states like Florida, with limited or no helmet laws, were 10 times greater than in states with the laws.

The Governor's Highway Safety Association motorcycle accident deaths dropped significantly between 2008 and 2009, after a decade of steady increases. The numbers then reversed and began an upward climb, even as overall traffic fatalities declined.

While size alone makes motorcycles vulnerable, it's also easy for many motorists to forget or dismiss a rider's right to share the road.

Negligence is not exclusive to drivers of the larger vehicle in a motorcycle accident, although an unprotected motorcyclist is less likely to walk away without injuries than a passenger car or truck occupant. Compensation for damages is available to any party injured in an accident caused by a driver or rider's disregard of others' safety.

Source:, "Lakeland couple killed in motorcycle crash" Shayla Reaves, Dec. 02, 2013

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