While overall traffic fatalities have been on a steady decrease across the nation, the unfortunate fact is that motorcycle accidents have been on the rise for the past several years. And of all the states across the country, Florida ranks among the worst for motorcycle-related crashes. Even more disturbingly, as of 2013, motorcycle accidents were responsible for nearly 20% of all traffic-related fatalities in the state of Florida. And in many cases, it’s not the motorcyclists themselves that are at-fault, but careless drivers on the road.
With this in mind, a huge responsibility now falls on both drivers and motorcyclists to stay safe by practicing defensive driving and taking the right safety precautions. For motorcyclists, there are a few guidelines you should follow to reduce your chances of becoming yet another statistic.
Never Assume Other Drivers See You
As a general rule, when you’re on a motorcycle, you should pretend that none of the other drivers on the road have mirrors on their vehicles. In other words, never assume that other drivers see you when you’re trying to merge, change lanes, make a turn, or brake. This is known as defensive driving and is probably the single best driving skill you can have as a motorcyclist.
Always Wear the Right Gear
Florida is one of many states in the country that still does not require motorcycle riders to wear a helmet while on the road. And it’s estimated that about half of the motorcyclists in Florida exercise their right to not wear a helmet. While it’s true that you’re not obligated by law to wear one, it’s in your best interest to do so, as a helmet could very well save your life in the event of an accident.
Even if you choose not to wear a helmet, you should at least be wearing some basic safety gear while riding. This includes:
- A leather jacket
- Long pants
- Closed-toe shoes
- Eye protection
To increase your visibility on the road, you may also want to invest in gear that’s bright in color.
Know How to Handle Bad Conditions
Riding your motorcycle in poor weather conditions is never encouraged; the most dangerous time to ride is immediately after it’s begun to rain, as this is when oils on the roads make them very slick. If you get caught in bad weather, such as rain, either pull off into a gas station and wait it out or drive slowly on side streets the rest of the way home. Also, when possible, stay away from construction zones, where road debris can put you in danger.
Keeping roads safe is a responsibility of all drivers, but motorcyclists should take these extra precautions. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, be sure to contact Ginnis & Krathen today. We have many years of experience representing those who have been injured in auto accidents, and we take this responsibility very seriously. Contact us today for a free evaluation to see if you have a case.