Motorcycle Crash Bill

By: Danielle Sommerfeld Email
By: Danielle Sommerfeld Email

Tallahassee, FL - Motorcyclists could get some extra protection if a bill passed by a Florida senate committee today (3-9) ultimately becomes a law.

Tina McElhenny lost her son Kris, and Mike Sellers lost his son Steven to motorcycle accidents.

They say neither of the drivers in those fatal accidents were charged with a crime.

These parents are pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 608 and are crusading for what they call fairness.

Mike Sellers says, "I'm going to be back here every hearing of this year and speak to every committee that it goes through. Hopefully this year it will get to the floor again and possibly a vote by Legislature to enact this as law."

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles over the past 5 years 2,357 motorcyclists have died in traffic crashes in the state.

The top two contributing causes of these crashes are careless driving and failure to yield to the right of way.

Senate Bill 608 calls for any motorist who injures or kills a motorcyclist in a crash to face criminal charges.

Republican Representative Brad Drake says, "Fairness is not always existent, I don't know that we can legislate fairness in every existence in the law."

The bill passed its first committee Wednesday, but it still has a long road before it's a law.

Tina McElhenny has been working to get it passed for 8 years.

McElhenny says, "I say hooray, but it still has other committees to go through. So I don't wanna jump yet, until I know everything has been through all three committees. And then we can all say well we finally got it done."

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  • by aka rc Location: St. Marks on Mar 11, 2011 at 12:37 PM
    This bill was written two years ago. Half way through the comm's. They struck the Jail language. So some of us were able to get the bill killed. Imagine your son, daughter, mother, father, any loved one killed by someone stupid enough to text while driving. Many of us know what that feels like. How else are we going to stop that wacko's that would rob us of our loved ones and rob us of the right to use the Killing fields Florida calls highways without becoming a target?
  • by ConservativeHippie on Mar 10, 2011 at 07:45 PM
    Absolutely this needs to pass and it needs to include bicyclists and pedestrians as well as motorcyclists. Of the above choices in transportation and cars, car drivers choose to operate the most potentially destructive vehicle. They should be held responsible for that choice.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 10, 2011 at 03:19 PM
    sinbad, wow, have something against Harley owners? I don't ride, but I have seen all kinds of people that do and your stereotypes are just ignorant. g, I am sure you WILL get jail time for shooting someone who hits you, whether this bill passes or not. Doesn't qualify as self defense.
  • by Driver Location: TLH on Mar 10, 2011 at 02:32 PM
    It looks like there is a lot of confusion about whether a biker is getting special treatment. The writer didn't do a very good job of describing this bill. The way the article is written, it sounds like if you hit a car there are no criminal charges but if you hit a motorcycle then there are. Maybe the writer didn't read the bill. I looked at the bill online and it wants to have criminal charges for anyone who commits a "moving violation" that causes injury or death to another car, a passenger in another car, or a motorcycle. If you injure the person then the jail time is 30 days. If you kill them then it is 90 days. It sounds pretty harsh to me. I'm not sure jail time is appropriate unless it is a DUI. How many of us have never missed seeing a yield sign?
  • by g Location: tallahassee on Mar 10, 2011 at 02:26 PM
    if you hit me.... you had better kill me... cause I carry!!
  • by Sinbad Location: Tallahassee on Mar 10, 2011 at 02:20 PM
    Show me a Harley Rider and I'll show you a hypertentious jelly-belly, faux-patriotic, Rush Limbaugh wannabe, pre-diabetic who is usually full of beer, and always asleep on the couch by 8:30 pm with visions of yesteryear dancing in his bald head. Still bitter about having a woman boss for the last ten years of his career, he now spends evey moment complaining about a nanny government -- a government to which he looks for medicare, medicaid, and his social security check. A card-carrying member of abate, he never wears a helmet. Why should he; after all, you can't expect him to value his life more than the rest of us do. May this silly bill RIP before it sees the light of day.
  • by terry Location: jasper on Mar 10, 2011 at 01:37 PM
    i was going thru new orleans about 7 pm in bumper to bumper traffic. abullet bike passed me at about 160 mph. so fast it scared me i just know i would see the idiot dead down the road. so under the new law is a car was to change lanes and the idiot hit him his family could sue him or her.
  • by Yamamomma Location: Tallahassee on Mar 10, 2011 at 01:20 PM
    To Keith Stone & GV - boy are you guys dumb! GV go read Choice's post again about the semi comments and re-read mine and maybe you will get. And Keith Stone, here's a newsflash for you...everyone doesn't pay their insurance premiums and all the companies I know of cancel your policy if you don't pay the premium. Since you can't see beyond the end of your nose, we'll try this one last time. Maybe I put too much in quotes and that's why you can't follow it. I'll simplify it for you..."if the owner of the car did not have insurance I would sue them. Get it?" Yeah, I get it, you're still an idiot!
  • by stupidbikes on Mar 10, 2011 at 01:15 PM
    To all u motorcyclists... I think you all are stupid to ride... Find another hobby that isnt so dangerous.. I have no sympathy for someone who purposely puts themselves at risk of being killed and then have the audacity to blame it on motorists. If you wouldnt have been on the bike in the first place you wouldnt have been injured. It's not a matter of if you will be killed or injured.. its a matter of when. NO sympathy at all for any of you. Go ride.. Not my problem!!
  • by Biker Mama on Mar 10, 2011 at 12:58 PM
    ok, "not tooo cute," my husband and I are professionals, not sweaty, wabbling 400 pounders, And the name calling is uncalled for. This is like the pot calling the kettle black! This is about the Motorcycle Crash Bill. We are all people driving different vehichles, and we all just want the same thing, respect on the road!
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