Whether it’s a sense of freedom, feeling more connected to the environment, or the desire for fuel efficiency, motorcycle registrations in the United States have grown year over year for the past decade. Riders will tell you it’s more than a hobby; there’s a lifestyle and camaraderie among bikers unlike any other. As thrilling and adventurous as riding can be, there is no doubt this culture comes with an extra set of risks. Motorcycle fatalities occur 30 times more frequently than passenger vehicle fatalities, according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In 2017, Florida was ranked as the state with the highest number of motorcycle crash fatalities, with Jacksonville as the eighth-deadliest city in the state. At Coker Law, we want you to hit the road and enjoy the ride. “We cannot say it enough, when you see a motorcycle on the road, remember that it is someone’s parent, child or sibling,’” stresses Coker Law attorney David Thompson. “Please take extra care around motorcycles so everyone makes it home safely.”
Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind regardless of whether you drive a car or truck, are a first-time rider, or a veteran of the open road.
Keep an Eye Out for Motorcycles
Everyone has seen bumper stickers or billboards along the highway urging drivers to watch out for motorcycles. With the summer months quickly approaching, there will be more motorcycles on the road than other times during the year.
Do your part to ensure the safety of motorcyclists in your community:
- Motorcycles are often hidden in your blind spot. Take an extra second to check that there are none around you before changing lanes or turning at an intersection.
- Since motorcycles are smaller than cars, they often look farther away than they really are. If you see one, know that it is most likely closer than it appears and going at a higher rate of speed than anticipated.
- When roads are wet, leave extra room when driving behind a motorcycle. It is harder for motorcycles to come to a quick stop, or brake, in slippery conditions.
- Unlike regular cars, motorcycle turn signals are not self-canceling. Some motorcyclists (especially beginners) may forget to turn it off after they have completed the turn.
- Don’t assume that you can pull out in front of a motorcycle because they have their turn signal on.
Dress for the Slide, Not the Ride
Many states have a law that requires motorcyclists to wear a helmet. However, Florida appealed that law in 2000. According to the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury by 69 percent, and the risk of death by 42 percent. Coker Law cautions motorcyclists to ride carefully and follow the rules of the road.
Here are some tips to ensure you’re being safe on the road:
- Always wear safety gear. You should be wearing a helmet that meets Department of Transportation compliance standards, as well as protective eye wear.
- Wear long-sleeved clothing, pants, and closed-toed shoes. In case of a crash, you want to be fully covered upon impact with the road. The saying goes, “Dress for the slide, not the ride.”
- Stay visible and out of other vehicles’ blind spots. To make sure you are seen, you should turn your headlights and taillights on in rainy weather and from dusk to dark.
- Consider taking a motorcycle safety course. Not only will this help you be a better rider, but it will also lower the cost of your insurance. There are many different courses offered all across the state of Florida.
Coker Law Is Here for You
Coker Law urges you to be careful while riding or driving around a motorcycle. If you or a loved one is hurt in a motorcycle crash, you may qualify to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses related to your injuries. If you are involved in a crash, we have a list of do’s and don’ts on our motorcycle crash page on our website. Use this link to find a Coker Law attorney, to schedule an appointment, click here or call (904) 356-6071.