Fatal motorcycle accidents spike in Tampa - WFLA News Channel 8

Fatal motorcycle accidents spike in Tampa

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

More than a dozen motorcycle drivers have died on Tampa streets so far this year. Three were killed during the first six months of 2012. Tampa Police say the alarming increase is prompting a motorcycle enforcement campaign this month on the city streets.

TPD Sgt. Carl Giguere says investigators are noticing a lot of motorcycle drivers involved in accidents are operating without the proper motorcycle endorsement. To try to make the roads safer for bikers and everyone around them, Tampa Police's Motorcycle Unit has a zero tolerance policy for any biker caught breaking the rules of the road through the end of the month.

"We're looking for the riders that are performing illegal activity on the bikes. The ones that conceal their tags. The ones that are speeding," said Sgt. Carl Giguere.

Motorcycle officers are writing tickets, instead of handing out warnings for violators. They're also encouraging more safety training for motorcycle drivers and those riding next to them in cars and trucks.

"Drivers are looking for cars. They're not necessarily looking for motorcycles," explained Sgt. Carl Giguere. "So that information comes in through the eyes, goes to the brain, and the brain doesn't give it any more value than a park bench or tree. They make a split decision to pull out and they'll tell us 'I didn't see him. He came out of nowhere.' They did really see him. They just didn't recognize him as something they need to yield to."

There are more than 600,000 registered motorcycles in Florida and more new bikers are hitting the roads each day.  Helmets are not required in Florida, unless the driver is under 21 or doesn't carry medical insurance.

 Tampa Police created a safety video as part of this month's campaign.  Click here to watch it.

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