Whether it’s a quick trip to the store or a long-distance ride, the year-long warmer temperatures in Florida provide plenty of opportunities for motorcycle enthusiasts to enjoy the open road. But every time someone gets on a bike, there is the chance that something could go wrong.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2010 there were 7,484 motorcycle crashes. The number of motorcyclists injured was 6,686, and the number killed was 350. Following some motorcycle safety tips could reduce risk of an accident that causes injury or even death.
Motorcycle Safety Tips Before You Ride
A safe ride actually starts before putting the key in the ignition. Too often no thought is given to the motorcycle’s condition. Yet it could impact not only performance, but also the likelihood of an accident. Broken or worn equipment could be a safety hazard.
One of the things that should be checked before every ride is the wheels and tires. It could be difficult to handle the bike if something is amiss. Dented rims, worn tire tread, loose or bent spokes, and improper pressure in tires are some examples. Other parts that should be checked before riding are brakes and lights. A quick check over the entire motorcycle is always a good idea.
Wearing the Right Motorcycle Gear
Another important safety consideration when riding a motorcycle is gear. Under Florida law, eye protection must be worn. The best type is a shield on the helmet.
Helmets are required only for those 21 years and younger in the state of Florida. They are optional for riders who are older than 21, as long as they have at least $10,000 in medical insurance. However, helmets are always recommended because they may reduce the severity of a head injury.
A jacket can help prevent or reduce the severity of road rash in the event of a crash. When the temps are warmer, consider investing in a motorcycle jacket that comes with vents. Other motorcycle gear that should be worn is gloves, thick pants and boots that cover the ankles. Also consider wearing bright colors or reflective clothing in order to increase visibility to other motorists.
Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips
Now that pre-inspection of the bike and gear has been discussed, it’s time to consider other safety tips that apply to the actual operation of a motorcycle. Some of these tips might be relevant to riding in heavy traffic while other tips pertain to riding on a highway. But all could potentially reduce the risk of a crash.
The following are some important motorcycle safety tips to keep in mind when riding a motorcycle:
- always check mirrors before slowing to stop or turn;
- avoid driving in other vehicles’ blind spots;
- maintain a safe distance between the bike and any vehicle in front of it;
- keep to the left or right of the vehicle in front when traffic slows, which may provide an escape route
- if it has to make a sudden stop;
- before proceeding through an intersection, look left, right and then left again;
- if visibility becomes difficult (fog, rain), reduce speed;
- never assume others can see the bike;
- use caution before passing a vehicle; and
- obey all traffic signals, signs and laws.
Call 24/7 Injury Law if you’ve been involved in an accident and wish to discuss filing an injury claim against the at-fault driver: (888) 984-4878.