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May is Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month

This month, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is reminding motorists statewide to share the road with motorcycles and bicycles in an effort to reduce crashes involving these vulnerable road users. FLHSMV’s Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month is in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and the Florida Trucking Association.

 

“Whether you operate a large truck, passenger vehicle, motorcycle or bicycle, take responsibility for your role on the road,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Drivers must always look twice for other road users, use caution when changing lanes and give others plenty of space. We all share Florida’s roadways, so always look out for one another to Arrive Alive.”

 

In 2018 preliminarily, there were 8,997 motorcycle crashes and 6,546 bicycle crashes in Florida. That means, there were more than 300 motorcycle and bicycle crashes every week on average, resulting in 635 motorcycle and bicycle fatalities last year.

 

“Sharing our roadways is everyone’s responsibility and drivers must stay alert for motorcycles and bicycles,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Safety is FHP’s number one priority, use caution to ensure Florida’s vulnerable road users arrive safely to their destination.”

 

In 2018 preliminarily, of the 9,657 motorcyclists involved in a crash, 60 percent were wearing a helmet, eight percent more than 2017. Of the 7,249 bicyclists involved in a crash in 2018, 87 percent were not wearing a helmet. All motorcyclists and bicyclists should wear helmets for safety. Motorists and bicyclists should refer to the official Florida Driver License Handbook for more safety tips about operating on roadways.

 

To best equip Florida’s motorcycle operators for safe, responsible motorcycling, the FLHSMV administers the Florida Rider Training Program. Through this statewide program, certified course providers educate motorcycle operators on the fundamentals necessary to ride safely and avoid crashes while sharing the road in Florida. To help prevent crashes and promote lifelong training among Florida riders, FLHSMV has partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and several motorcycle training providers in high crash areas to offer experienced rider courses at a reduced cost throughout the month of May. FDOT will pay $75 toward an experienced rider motorcycle course at the following training sites: Brandon Harley Davidson, Jacksonville Motorcycle Safety Training, Adventure Rider Training, Bert’s Harley Davidson and Motorcycle Training Institute inc. Please visit ridesmartflorida.com for more details.

 

“We are proud to partner with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for their Share the Road Campaign,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault. “It is essential that everyone on the road exercise caution around or on motorcycles, bicycles and commercial motor vehicles. The only way we can maintain safe roadways is by working together to respect one another when driving and cycling. Respect the road and everyone on it. Safety doesn’t happen by accident.”

 

“Florida’s roadways carry so much more than cars—bicyclists, motorcycles, and commercial motor vehicles are all around us each and every day,” said Florida State University Police Chief David Perry, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA).  “Many law enforcement officers utilize bikes and motorcycles to conduct their duties, and all law officers have seen the devastating effects of crashes that result from vehicles not sharing the road with these alternate modes of transportation.  This May, the FPCA encourages motorists to be mindful of all road-users, and to work together to make our roads and highways as safe as possible.”

 

“Florida has hundreds of miles of beaches and beautiful scenery where many of our citizens and guests enjoy motorcycling and bicycling all year round. On behalf of our Florida sheriffs, I fully support the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Share the Road safety initiative during Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month in May,” stated Sheriff Mark Hunter, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association.

 

In addition to motorcycles and bicycles, motorists are reminded to safely share the road with commercial vehicles. Large trucks do not maneuver like passenger vehicles. Drivers are reminded to stay out of the “No Zone,” the blind spots in front, behind and on both sides of commercial vehicles, and never tailgate. Always pass on the left for maximum visibility and watch for wide turns.

 

“Distracted driving is at an all-time high, and drivers on motorcycles and bicycles are particularly vulnerable,” said Ken Armstrong, President of Florida Trucking Association. “We urge all motorists to keep their eyes focused on the road and understand the “no-zone” blind spots of commercial motor vehicles so everyone gets home safely.”

 

“When drivers properly Share the Road, everyone is safer,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “All roadway users need to be aware of their surroundings, follow the rules of the road and give other vehicles ample space to operate safely.”

 

Motorists are reminded never to share the lane with a motorcycle, maintain a four-second buffer zone between you and a motorcyclist and increase space when encountering bad weather and road conditions. Do not follow too closely behind a motorcycle or bicycle. Visit FLHSMV’s website for more safety tips and resources for the Share the Road: Motorcycle Safety and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month Campaign. The public is encouraged to report dangerous and drunk drivers, motorcyclists and bicyclists by dialing *FHP (*347) or 911.

 

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