Our society is filled with stereotypes that – for better or for worse – shape the way we view the world around us. In fact, in many cases, stereotypes can even cause us to judge people unfairly, oftentimes to the chagrin of the person being judged.
Unfortunately, this is the world most motorcyclists in Florida have to content with. Even if a motorcyclist has an impeccable driving record, most people will still see them as reckless or careless even if they aren’t. People may also assume that the rider will speed, dart in and out of traffic or will cut other drivers off without regards to the consequences, which may not happen or isn’t something the rider would considering doing.
Far sadder still, it’s not just average people who make assumptions about motorcyclists. Oftentimes, insurance companies and juries are proponents of the idea that all motorcyclists are reckless and negligent drivers. In fact, it’s because of this stereotype that many motorcyclists who suffer injuries in an accident, have to fight so hard to get the compensation they need and deserve.
Helmet or no helmet
Some people continue to promote the “reckless motorcyclist” stereotype by pointing to the fact that many motorcyclists choose not to wear helmets that could prevent serious or life-threatening head and brain injuries. While this may be the case, not wearing a helmet doesn’t make someone negligent, at least not in Florida.
In 2000, our legislature repealed the universal helmet law, allowing riders over the age of 21 to choose whether or not they wanted to wear a helmet. There is a trade off though that may discredit the assumption riders are reckless: Florida law requires riders who choose not to wear a helmet to carry additional medical insurance to cover the cost of treatment for the helmetless driver’s potential injuries.
The blame game may be rigged
Even if you ignore all of the information above, it’s important to know that motorcyclists do encounter the “reckless” stereotype and it can be incredibly damaging when trying to recover compensation after an accident. An insurer may unwittingly assign a higher percentage of fault to a motorcyclist simply based on an assumption, causing the motorcyclist to recover a smaller portion of damages than they should.
Whether you believe the stereotype or not, it exists, creating a difficult barrier to motorcyclists who shouldn’t have to worry about getting better after a crash and whether or not people are unfairly seeing them as negligent. If you’ve been in a motorcycle crash caused by another driver, the attorneys at the Wells Law Group can help you level the playing field.