About 20 percent, or 491, out of Florida’s 2,424 traffic fatalities belonged to motorcyclists. This is as of 2012, the latest complete year of statistics, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Board. The lack of structural protection offered by a passenger car or truck is the primary factor contributing to increased risk of injury or death. If you enjoy driving a bike, follow these simple tips to stay safe:
- Wear a helmet. The NHTSB estimates that 135 lives were saved because of helmet use. Since the repeal of Florida’s helmet law in 2000, the number of fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles has jumped by 21 percent. There’s also additional protective clothing to consider. Wearing gloves, long pants and a jacket can help protect against scrapes and bruises if you hit the road. Investing in body armor can also guard against broken bones and internal injuries.
- Don’t drive after drinking. It’s an obvious rule that too many drivers (of all vehicles) choose to ignore. The NHTSB estimates that having any alcohol in the body increases the chances of a crash by five-fold. In 2011 in Florida, 32 percent of the motorcycle fatalities showed Blood Alcohol Concentrations of 0.08 or greater.
- Be extra careful during the weekends. In 2011, 37 percent of the fatal crashes occurred on the weekend. 28% of those deaths occurred in March, April and May.
- Take a safety course. Even if you’re a seasoned driver, a refresher course on defensive driving never hurts. If you’re new to the open road, a good motorcycle training course is imperative for building a solid foundation of best driving practices.
- Be aware of your visibility. Use your indicators, wear visible clothing and always be conscious of your position relative to other drivers on the road.
You may follow all these guidelines regularly and still be involved in a motorcycle accident because you share the road with other drivers who can behave unpredictably. If that happens, contact an attorney experienced in handling motorcycle accident injuries immediately.