Motorcyclists: Defensive Driving is More Important Than Ever!

If you are or know an avid motorcycle enthusiast, there is usually at least one ‘accident story’—and often, it’s a terrifying one. Riding a motorcycle offers numerous benefits, from greater fuel efficiency and easier maintenance to the thrill of being outdoors and enjoying a sense of community with others who ride. Most of us are aware of the intrinsic dangers of riding a motorcycle too though. Aside from dangers associated with traveling at high speeds or around curves, or battling bad weather, motorcyclists can often become the odd man out in normal traffic.

Florida Highest in Fatalities for Motorcylists

Florida is known to be the state highest in motorcyclist fatalities. This state also no longer requires helmets to be worn—adding to the potential for traumatic brain injuries. Nearly 20 percent of fatalities on the road are those of motorcyclists, with numbers offered by AAA indicating that the problem is only increasing. Since 2015, motorcyclist fatalities have increased by 30 percent.

Distracted Motorists Pose Enormous Danger

If you have had experience with motorcycles, you are probably more inclined to notice them on the road. This is often not the case, however, as large numbers of distracted drivers on the road are barely watching out for other cars—not to mention motorcycles, bikes, pedestrians, and wildlife.

It’s no secret that many drivers are dealing with multiple distractions, whether they are trying to figure out the best route, brushing hair or applying makeup, eating fries from the drive-thru, or distracted by other noise or activity in the car. The smartphone, however, is hands-down the major culprit today. With emails, texts, and calls coming and going, sometimes it seems as if motorists are concentrating on everything but driving. This means that you must focus twice as hard on defensive driving if you are a motorcyclist. Distracted driving is not just a trend, but a crisis on the roads in the US. Thousands are dying each year as a result, and despite nationwide attention given to the problem, it continues to grow, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics.

Motorcycles Are Often Not Seen in Traffic

Car drivers are used to looking for other cars, and because of its size, a motorcycle simply may not be in their line of sight—especially if the motorist is already distracted. Here are some tips for driving defensively in traffic:

  • Be extremely alert, assuming you must watch out for every car near you. Watch for cars about to make turns (making eye contact with them will assure you that they do see you) as well as motorists who do not seem to be paying attention to your presence. Distracted motorists are usually easy to spot due to their erratic driving. They may be driving dangerously fast or weaving in and out of traffic while slowing down and speeding up unpredictably.
  • Be confident driving in traffic, but not aggressive. Follow the speed limits and traffic rules, and show respect for other drivers as you share the road. When stopped, watch for pedestrians too.
  • Make yourself both seen and Wear brightly colored clothing and position yourself so other cars, trucks, and buses can see you. Don’t be afraid to make use of the throttle and be loud if you think it will alert distracted motorists to your presence. For safety’s sake, make yourself known!
  • Try to stay ahead of other cars and make sure those behind you are at a safe distance. Avoid getting into the blind spot of any vehicle. If you see that a car is traveling too closely, move into the other lane so they can pass, or you may even want to pull over and let them go ahead. Safety is everything in these cases—and especially during inclement weather.
  • Intersections can be especially tricky. You must be extremely vigilant here, watching out for all approaching cars—especially those that seem to be traveling too fast and in danger of missing a stop sign or stoplight. Cars turning left may have an especially hard time seeing motorcyclists as well.
  • Be especially careful on curves, monitoring your speed and braking carefully.

Defensive driving is imperative on the roads today, but wearing a helmet, traveling the speed limit, and using the appropriate signals may be the true factors that save your life on the roads.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Heintz & Becker today. With over 30 years of experience, our certified trial lawyers have represented countless motorcycle accident victims in Bradenton, Sarasota, and throughout Florida—helping them to recover compensation for medical and rehabilitation costs, as well as pain and suffering. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our motorcycle accident lawyers. Call now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for your enjoyment and informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.