TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In a state where growing numbers of motorcycles and vehicle drivers share the roads, it is important for all motorists to practice safe driving behaviors to prevent motorcycle crashes. With more than 80,000 miles of roads and ideal, year-round riding conditions, Florida is a popular location for motorcyclists. More than a million drivers in Florida have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver licenses and there are over 600,000 motorcycles registered in the state, not including all of the out-of-state motorcycle enthusiasts that come to Florida to ride.
With the anticipated increase in motorcycle traffic during the summer months, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Florida Department of Transportation are promoting May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Florida.
“Regardless of your mode of transportation, safety comes first,” said Col. David Brierton, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Last year, there were nearly 10,000 motorcycle crashes in Florida that resulted in 440 deaths and more than 9,800 injuries. By staying alert and using common sense and courtesy, drivers and riders alike can help to create a safer road environment for everyone.”
FDOT Secretary Jim Boxold said, “Florida has great weather and roads for motorcycle enthusiasts. FDOT is committed to making roads safe and usable by all, including motorcyclists. We all need to share the road and look twice for motorcycles.”
In 2013, 462 motorcyclists including passengers were killed in traffic crashes, a slight increase from 2012 (457). Those deaths account for 19.2% of the total highway fatalities that year, despite motorcycle registrations representing only 3% of all vehicles in Florida.
DHSMV and FDOT are asking motorcyclists to ride smart and motorists to share the road by using these simple tips.
Tips for motorcyclists:
Make yourself more visible to motorists: Wear bright colors.
Always wear safety gear.
Stay out of blind spots, especially around large trucks. The smaller the vehicle, the more difficult it is for truck drivers to see it.
Obey the speed limit. Twenty percent of speed-related motorcycle crashes (46) in 2014 resulted in a fatality.
Always drive sober.
Inspect your motorcycle before each ride to ensure your safety by having it in good working order.
Reducing the number of motorcycle-involved crashes goes beyond training and prevention on the part of the motorcyclist. Motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle on the roadway.
Tips for drivers:
Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width; never try to share a lane.
Check for motorcycles by looking in your mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections. Remain extra vigilant when entering or crossing intersections. In 2014, 15 percent (66) fatal motorcycle-involved crashes occurred within an intersection.
Do not tailgate. Allow more following distance when following a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and mind on driving – don’t drive distracted.
Always drive sober.