In some parts of the country, spring and summer bring out masses of motorcyclists raring to get on the road. With this sudden influx of two-wheelers on the road, it’s no wonder the accident statistics increase. Many automobile drivers are not used to seeing motorcycles; they have to make the annual switch to being aware of their presence once again. In Florida, however, if a person doesn’t mind juggling riding time around the weather or riding in the rain, motorcycles are on the road all year around.
Floridian drivers get used to sharing the road with motorcycles on a daily basis. Still, accidents happen when people are not paying attention to their surroundings and traffic flow. There are things both motorists and motorcyclists can do to make the roads safe for all.
The Nature of Motorcycle Accidents
The vast majority of motorcycle accidents cause serious injury or death to the cyclist. Since motorcycles do not provide any safety for riders involved in accidents, the outcome tends to be more severe than that of many car crashes.
The person operating a motorcycle has a list of challenges automobile drivers do not have to consider. Cyclists need to be more alert at intersections since they are often in a driver’s blind spot. Many collisions with cars occur at intersections. A common problem is a motorist turning into the path of a motorcycle. Cyclists must constantly be aware of the possibility that another vehicle may make a left turn or lane change without seeing the motorcycle.
Weather and road conditions are factors that must be taken into consideration as well. Road construction, debris in the road, animals darting across the road and a host of other elements come into to play, making driving more hazardous for the motorcycle operator than for the person driving an enclosed vehicle.
Inexperienced cyclists may not have the awareness seasoned riders have; therefore, they may make unwise decisions on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly a third of motorcyclists who die in crashes are not licensed to operate a motorcycle. As a driver, it pays to be aware of the fact that the person operating the motorcycle near you may not know exactly what they should or should not be doing. A driver’s license to drive a car does not qualify a person to safely operate a motorcycle.
Pay Attention to Motorcycles
Even without the distractions of listening to your favorite band, trying to read directions, eating a burger or mopping up the coffee that spilled in your lap, (we won’t mention texting) many motorists just don’t “see” motorcycles. This is usually unintentional, yet it can be fatal. Motorcycles often wind up in a motorist’s blind spot. That’s a problem. When you come to an intersection, look carefully before turning left or changing lanes. When you’re on the highway, make sure to check your mirrors and look carefully behind and beside your vehicle before you make a lane change, on the chance a cyclist is in your blind spot.
Be Aware of Reaction Time
Motorcycles are more nimble than cars, however, they are also more vulnerable to those things mentioned above. The stopping time between cars and motorcycles is nearly identical on good roads and under good conditions; it changes when the conditions change. Be sure to allow enough space between you and a motorcycle should there be reason to stop suddenly.
Cyclists need to react quickly to conditions that may not affect other motorists. Be sure the following distance between you and the motorcycle is sufficient.
Be a Thoughtful Driver
Nighttime riding is even more dangerous for cyclists. Be sure to turn off your high-beams when approaching an oncoming motorcycle. Whether day or night, but especially at night, don’t pass another vehicle in your lane when a motorcycle is headed toward you in the oncoming lane. Just because they are smaller, doesn’t mean you can crowd their lane. Give motorcyclists the same respect you would give any other motorist.
Motorcycle Safety is Up to Everyone
Safe driving is safe driving. Be mindful of motorcycles and be aware of those things that put them at greater risk. Your safe driving and awareness of the hazards motorcyclists face help make the roads safer for everyone. Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. is at your service when legal help is required. Our passions are helping our fellow community members of the Port Charlotte area live safe, healthy lives and providing expert legal assistance and counsel when needed. Contact us for a courtesy consultation. We are the attorneys who care.