When it comes to motorcycle safety in Florida, far too many people place the majority of attention on the motorcyclist. While it is critical for motorcyclists to understand how to safely navigate Florida’s roads and highways, it is also essential for Florida motorists to understand how to safely operate their vehicles while driving near a motorcycle. People tend to get nervous as a motorcycle passes and this is natural. As a small, fast vehicle, motorcycles can be intimidating, especially when it feels like they are “sneaking up” on your car. As such, all Florida drivers are encouraged to play a role in reducing the number of motorcycle accidents occurring every year in the Sunshine State.
As drivers, there are quite a few measures that can be taken to increase safety and decrease the likelihood of a car versus motorcycle collision. More than half of all motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle and in most of these cases, the driver of the car or truck is to blame. While it may be easy to point fingers at the motorcyclists, the facts are that drivers are primarily the problem. Let’s take a look at a few basic tips for Florida drivers while on the roads with motorcycles:
- Motorcycles are small and easily “hidden”. Be aware of this and take an extra second to look for motorcycles prior to turning at an intersection or changing lanes. This is especially important during highway travel.
- The distance between your vehicle and a motorcycle is often difficult to assess, as the motorcycle is small and appears farther away than it really is. In addition, properly evaluating the speed of the approaching motorcycle is incredibly difficult. As such, we encourage drivers to always assume a motorcycle is closer than it looks and operate their vehicle accordingly.
- Motorcycles tend to use their brakes sparingly, thus showing brake lights much less frequently than a standard vehicle. Motorcyclists often come to a stop by rolling off of the throttle or slowly downshifting. As a result, drivers must be allow for a greater following distance to account for stops without the presence of brake lights.
- Drivers are often frustrated when they see a motorcyclist adjusting their position within a lane. While this may appear as an “annoying” activity of a motorcyclist, they are often avoiding debris or some other kind of road hazard. Drive accordingly and avoid getting annoyed.
- Unlike cars and trucks, motorcycle turning signals do not self-cancel. As a result, many beginner riders forget to turn off their turning signal once a turn or lane change has already occurred. Be aware of this and try to determine if the signal is indicating a turn or lane change or if the signal is from a previous maneuver.
Being an alert driver is by and far the most successful way to avoid a car versus motorcycle accident. Taking into account the above safety tips will not only help to reduce the number of motorcycle collisions throughout Florida, but will also play a role in raising awareness about motorcycle safety.