The month of May is very appropriately designated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. Spring is in the air and many motorcycle enthusiasts are taking to the highways in large numbers, most of them for the first time this year.
“Safety first” is what anyone who climbs on a motorcycle must be thinking. In a study conducted from 2003 to 2012 on Florida crash statistics, motorcycles accounted for 36 percent of all single vehicle accidents. That is a motorcycle hitting a tree, a curb, a sign or some other obstacle.
Think about that, these statistics don’t even take into account the most dangerous type of accidents – those involving collisions with larger vehicles. The Ride Smart Florida organization, which is an outreach extension of the Florida Motorcycle Safety Coalition, has made some of the most important tips easy to remember by their acronym SMART. This stands for:
Say no to drinking and driving
Make yourself more visible to motorists
Always wear your helmet when you ride
Ride in control within your personal limits
Train regularly and get endorsed
These tips will keep you well-protected when you are out on the road enjoying the freedom and exhilaration that comes with this favorite pastime of many Floridians. However, this is just a start. It takes more than those five actions to truly protect yourself on the road.
Start with your gear
Nothing is more important than wearing your helmet at all times, but be sure to also wear protective clothing that can reduce road burn in case you do have an accident. When you are going out again for the first time of the year, re-familiarize yourself with your bike. Remember, steering at slow speeds is different than at faster speeds. And the brakes are best when used to slow you down when approaching an area that might produce difficulties like a traffic jam or sharp curve, not just for sudden stops.
Make sure you are visible
Be certain that all motorists around you are aware of your presence. For veteran riders there is almost a second sense that you feel by the actions of drivers in front of you as to whether they seem aware that you are behind them.
Many riders rev their engine to make others aware but that isn’t enough. Always drive defensively anticipating what those beside you, behind you, and in front of you might do if they forget a motorcycle rider is on the road with them.
Always pay attention
Distracted driving is another key thing to be on the lookout for when riding in either a car or on a motorcycle. Also, you must always follow the rules of the road. There is a big temptation to seek ways around traffic tie-ups that aren’t available to those in a car, but going the wrong way down a one way street or riding along a closed shoulder of the road isn’t the way to proceed.
If all your precautions fail and you are involved in an accident caused by a dangerous, careless or distracted driver you should contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney immediately. The law team at Fetterman Associates has sought and won damages for responsible motorcycle riders who have been injured by inattentive, careless drivers. If you have had a fun ride on the open road turn into a bad accident, leaving you out of work and in serious medical distress, you need to contact the experts at Fetterman for a free consultation today.