How to Safely Share the Road with Motorcycles
There were 8,895 motorcycle accidents and 550 motorcycle fatalities in Florida in 2019, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Greater awareness for sharing the road safely with motorcyclists could help reduce these accidents.
As a team of motorcycle accident lawyers, we’ve seen many preventable situations. We share safety tips with other drivers to keep motorcyclists safe and reduce your chances of dealing with an accident.
Motorcycle Accident Prevention in Florida
Drivers should know that motorcyclists have the same privileges as any other vehicle on the road. The challenge for other motorists is that motorcycles are small, which reduces their visibility. Here’s how you can share the road safely with motorcycles and avoid accidents.
- Always use a turn signal. While it may seem obvious to some, not every driver recognizes the gravity of this action. Even more so than the standard sedan or truck, using a blinker helps motorcyclists anticipate your movements and react accordingly. Almost 40 percent of all motorcycle accidents occur when a vehicle turns left in front of a motorcyclist. Using a turn signal can also keep you safe from accidents involving other vehicles.
- Keep a close eye on motorcycles. Once a motorcycle enters your field of view, try to keep tabs on them. Another common cause of motorcycle accidents is from motorcycles sitting in a motorist’s blind spot. Even if you can’t see the motorcycle, you’ll know they are there because you were paying close attention.
- Don’t assume a motorcyclist is changing lanes or turning if you see a blinking light. Sadly, many motorcycle turn signals do not stop after the operator turns the bike. The driver often has to turn these off manually, which can lead to turn signals remaining on longer than you would expect.
- Be extra cautious in poor road conditions. While wet and slippery road conditions present a hazard to all motorists, they’re especially dangerous for motorcycles. When conditions are poor, give motorcycles even more room on the road. Don’t tailgate a motorcyclist and avoid assuming you have plenty of room for a lane change. Other big considerations for motorcycles are potholes and other road disturbances. Give them plenty of room to avoid these hazards.
- Keep in mind that motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars. Add some extra distance between you and a motorcyclist if you’re driving behind one. This protects you and the rider in case something unforeseen happens ahead and the motorcyclist slams on their breaks.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
Keeping motorcyclists safe takes attention from everyone, including the motorcyclist. If you or a loved one enjoy using a motorcycle as transportation, encourage them to take part in these safety measures.
- Always wear a helmet. The Center for Disease Control states that motorcyclists are 37 percent less likely to die in a crash if they are wearing a helmet. The CDC also estimates the motorcycle helmets save 1,859 lives each year. That should be motivation enough to strap on that helmet.
- Never split lanes or drive erratically. To prevent a motorcycle accident in Florida, riders need to make sure they follow all posted rules of the road and drive safely. This includes never splitting lanes with cars or engaging in dangerous behavior.
- Pay close attention to your turn signals. Make sure to turn them off after you’ve completed a turn and always use them to signal when you’re changing lanes. This will help motorists anticipate your movements and avoid collisions.
- Wear protective gear. Even with motorists paying close attention to your movements, you could be in an accident that doesn’t involve another vehicle. Motorcyclists must wear protective gear, such as leather pants, jackets, gloves and a helmet. The more of your body that is covered during a crash, the less likely it will be for that accident to cause serious road rash, injuries or even be fatal.
When to Contact Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Colliding with a motorcycle will likely leave you feeling rattled and concerned. Take a deep breath and be very careful with what you say at the accident scene. Once you’re in a safe place and have handled any emergencies, contact an attorney. While you might not face litigation, it’s best to have an attorney on your side to protect your rights.
Goldman & Daszkal has extensive experience in representing drivers who have been in an accident involving a motorcycle. Schedule a free consultation to protect your rights after a collision.