Motorcycles are a great way to enjoy the ride along a scenic drive, take in the beautiful weather Florida has to offer, and a less expensive way to get around (gas prices are high!). Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents come across our attorneys’ desks often. We have five things you can do to protect yourself and prevent possible accidents while on the road.
Never ride a motorcycle without a proper license
Not only is it illegal, but it’s for your own safety. Motorcyclists aged 16 and over must pass a Basic Rider Course through the Florida Rider Training Program. Once passed, you can receive a Motorcycle Only license or have a Motorcycle Endorsement added to your current driver’s license. A benefit of taking this course is preparing yourself for emergency maneuvers, and protecting you from harm.
Wear a helmet, even if you don’t have to
Yes, a rider can choose not to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle in the state of Florida under certain requirements. The rider must be over 21 years of age and covered by an insurance policy with at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred because of operating or riding a motorcycle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle helmets are estimated to be nearly 40% effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators and just over 40% effective for motorcycle passengers. Wearing a helmet is the single most effective way to protect yourself from a head injury. Use a motorcycle helmet for every ride, and ensure your passengers also use a helmet.
Check your bike before you ride
Before starting your ride, be sure to inspect your motorcycle every time. Checking tires, fuel, lights, indicators, and brakes ensure that your bike is fit for the road. Taking a quick walk around your bike can help you find any loose bolts, leaks, or other potential mechanical hazards. You should also adjust the suspension and tire pressure when you’re taking a passenger for a ride. Taking regular care and maintenance of your bike can keep your bike on the road longer and a safer ride for you.
Obey traffic laws & be aware of others
In a majority of cases involving motorcyclists and another vehicle, the rider is not at fault. You can’t count on other drivers to be safe, so you have to reduce your risk of accidents by obeying traffic laws, sticking to speed limits, and avoiding unnecessary risks. It’s always best to assume that other drivers cannot see you, leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you, and signal for changing lanes or turning.
Never drive impaired
Just like any other vehicle with wheels, you should never operate your motorcycle while you are under the influence or otherwise impaired. Your judgment, reaction time, alertness, and balance, among other things, all go with safely riding a motorcycle. When they are impaired, you are putting yourself and others at risk. Sleepiness and prescribed medications can cause impairment, so even if you’ve been prescribed, see how your body reacts to the medication before taking your bike for a spin.
Motorcycle accidents happen far too often, so as a Florida rider, you want to protect yourself and your passengers from dangerous situations. Wearing your helmet, holding a proper license, inspecting your bike, obeying laws, and never driving impaired are easy ways to prevent potential accidents. We encourage you to read up on Defensive Driving Tips for riders as well.
Stuart Motorcycle Lawyer
If you find yourself or a loved one in an accident involving a motorcycle, give Philip DeBerard a call. We’ve worked on hundreds of cases involving motorcycles and know how to get you the recovery you need and deserve. Have questions? We’re always here to answer anything you may need help with. Call us toll-free or fill out the contact form to get in touch with a member of our team.