Riding a motorcycle is always a thrill, and something that is definitely not for everybody. The biggest concern with a motorcycle is the issue of safety. When you’re riding on an open vehicle like a motorcycle, any type of accident – or even inclement weather – can be incredibly dangerous.
For those who have been injured in a motorcycle accident – or who know someone who has – you know the danger is real. If you’re looking into purchasing a motorcycle, or are hoping to find ways to avoid another accident, here are five motorcycle safety tips that could save your life.
- Always wear a helmet. Unfortunately, the state of Florida does not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet by law. All you have to do to avoid putting on a helmet if you’re over the age of 21 is prove that you are insured for over $10,000 in medical benefits. Essentially, the law says it’s OK if you don’t wear a helmet as long as you can pay for your medical expenses because the rates of an accident are just that high.
But why take the risk? Serious head injuries are life-changing – if not life-threatening – and wearing a helmet reduces your chances of getting hurt or killed significantly. So get insured and wear a helmet – it’s the smart thing to do for both you and your loved ones.
- Take an extra motorcycle safety course. In Florida, you have to pass a motorcycle skills test (similar to a driving license test) and a motorcycle safety course before you are legal to cruise the streets. In most states, it’s not required that you take a motorcycle skills test, but in reality a course like this could save your life. Courses will teach you how to turn, swerve, and generally operate a motorcycle with skill. You can also learn to ride with much more experienced riders, and learn little tips about how to handle a variety of situations from them rather than through firsthand trial and error (which can be very risky).
- Dress the part. You may think you don’t want to dress like a biker going to Sturgis, but in reality most of what they wear is just smart. Leather is “road worthy,” meaning it can withstand a crash better than jeans or cloth, and you won’t be sporting road rash wherever you wear leather. You also need proper shoes, as sometimes exhaust pipes can get hot, and accidents happen when you turn or need to stop suddenly. Also keep in mind that you’re exposed to the elements like sun, dirt, and insects; goggles might look dorky, but they keep your eyes clear. Basically, wearing flip flops and board shorts while you cruise down the highway is the worst idea next to not wearing a helmet.
- Remember that you’re not a stuntman. Sure, wheelies look cool, but so does making it to your destination in one piece. And weaving through cars on the highway may get you to your destination quickly, but it can also get you into an auto injury accident situation quickly as well. This also means that, if you’re new to motorcycle riding, you should buy the safest motorcycle possible. You don’t need the fastest motorcycle ever made, one that burns jet fuel, or something that utterly ignores your preferred budget. Start simple; you can always upgrade later once you’ve mastered your motorcycle skills and know that it is something you can continue to find time for.
- Always, always be aware. Because you need both hands on the bars of your new bike, you can’t really text and drive, take a selfie, or eat a burger while cruising down I-95 – which is a good thing. However, there are plenty of ways to get distracted as a motorcyclist, as well, and plenty of things that you can miss if you’re not constantly aware of your surroundings.
This means the cars that surround you, the speed you’re traveling at, the gravel on the road, the gas in your tank, the passenger you might have with you, and the weather are all things that you are responsible for monitoring. If you miss storm clouds rolling in and get caught in a hailstorm, you’re not going to be happy and you’re not going to be safe. If you miss the reckless driver in the truck two car lengths ahead of you, you’re not going to be able to avoid him in time. Being aware equates to being alive when you’re on a motorcycle.
And always remember, if you are injured while riding due to someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to pay for their mistake. Seek out Florida personal injury lawyers with a track record of success in these types of cases to get the compensation you deserve.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.