The 76th annual Bike Week begins this Friday in Daytona, drawing an estimated 500,000 motorcyclists to the central Florida coast. It is a week that lasts ten days - March 10 to March 19 - and features a range of races, concerts, parties and street festivals. The event generates an estimated $300 million for the local economy, according to Bike Week Report.
Yet given the sharp increase in traffic, Bike Week is also the site of dozens of injuries each year, as well as a handful of motorcyclist deaths. Daytona ramps up its law enforcement during the event, and the number of fatalities has decreased in recent years - though it has yet to hit zero.
How common are accidents at Bike Week?
The most common cause of accidents tends to be alcohol use. But other factors are at play as well. Drivers of passenger vehicles often fail to look out for bikers on the road, and cause collisions when changing lanes or making turns. Other wrecks arise from reckless or inattentive driving - speeding, for example, or driving on very little sleep.
Most years see three or four fatalities. But there were 15 in 2000, and the death toll peaked in 2006 at 19.
What to do if you're involved in an accident
Those involved in an accident should, of course, seek immediate medical help. This is important not only with regard to recovering from any injuries, but in the event that the victim wants to pursue compensation for a personal injury claim. Namely, a medical record establishes a trail of evidence that can be used in any legal proceeding.
Likewise, injury victims, to the extent possible, should try to document the scene of the accident. Smartphones are useful in this endeavor. Again, generating pictorial evidence, or getting statements and contact information from people who witnessed the evidence, will bolster one's ability to collect the compensation they need.
Admittedly, there is still room for fun
The vast majority of Bike Week participants make it through the event unharmed, not counting the raggedness of body and mind one feels after several days of partying. Being careful is a priority - but it doesn't have to be an all-consuming one. Safety is most often a matter of preparedness, and so it's good to know the risks of an event, and how to cope with them, before going in.