Motorcyclists Must Drive More Defensively Than Ever

Despite ongoing programs to educate the public on road safety, fatalities continue to rise at historical rates—and not only for car crashes. Wrecks involving pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists are at all-time highs too, and especially in Florida. No one wants to think that the state they live in or love to visit is known for having unsafe roads, and especially as we are busy driving our families around—as well as watching our older children studying for their drivers’ licenses and look forward to getting behind the wheel or buying a motorcycle.

Motorcyclists are able to make the most of their transportation, often enjoying better economics whether in the original purchase, maintenance, or better gas mileage. Most of us are aware that they tend to look a lot cooler than the average driver too, with the leather, boots, and sunglasses all on full display; it’s easy to understand the temptation to take off on two wheels and leave the ‘cage’ behind in lieu of fresh air and so much camaraderie with others enjoying the same mode of travel.

Safety has always been the major downside of motorcycling though. And while you may be in complete control while traveling on quiet roads, the main dangers are when other motorists get involved. Today, the biggest enemy to motorcyclists is distracted drivers. We all know exactly what this problem looks like too—the motorist who is driving erratically, head down as they check out texts—or even worse, have the phone front and center as they read and type away. Answering the phone, talking, and listening to voicemails are other major distractions, as well as all the other electronics in the car that can be tempting. Along with this are other issues such as brushing hair and applying makeup while driving, eating, drinking, and giving undue attention to passengers.

Factor in all the other reasons for motorcycle crashes: speeding, drinking and driving, aggressive driving or road rage, lack of visibility, lane splitting, and challenging weather or road conditions.  While certain precautions should be taken such as wearing bright clothing when possible, having a bike that is painted in a bright color, along with revving the engine when at a stop, the bottom line is that motorcyclists must practice non-stop diligence when riding—whether on the open highway (avoiding motorists’ blind spots) or at intersections (watching out for those left turns!).

Whether you are driving a car or riding on a motorcycle, injuries from a crash can be extremely serious, or even fatal. All motorcyclists should be well-educated on technique, as well as the details of their specific bikes. Protective gear and helmets should always be worn too, helping to prevent injuries as well as road rash.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

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

Experienced Motorcyclists Benefit from Educational Courses Too

Motorcyclists experience both the best and the worst while traversing the highways and byways of the United States. Enjoying many health perks, they get a low-impact body workout while riding, and depending on the area, they may also be benefitting from enticing fresh air and a glorious landscape. Motorcyclists are often part of an entire lifestyle, a community—and it’s not uncommon to see them chatting quickly at a red light, admiring each other’s bikes or discussing directions. They often have a faster and better way of commuting and manage to look effortlessly cool while wearing protective clothing. Women motorcyclists are being seen in greater numbers out on the roads today too as they enjoy the benefits of riding.

If you are a novice, undoubtedly you have a learning curve. This means learning how to ride safely as well as understanding your new bike. A list of gear is usually necessary (don’t forget the helmet) along with the required education and insurance specific to motorcycles. As years pass, you will probably be completely comfortable on the road, understanding that feeling of being ‘one with the bike,’ and enjoying the Zen attitude on a continual basis. Keep in mind however, that everyone can benefit from a refresher course—no longer how long they may have been enjoying a particular exercise. And as traffic fatalities continue to rise in the US, especially in Florida, being as knowledgeable and safe as possible is key to ‘arriving alive’ at your destination.

Along with educating novices—and teaching them how to avoid accidents—different classes are offered for the experienced motorcyclist, and in Florida they too are often provided or sponsored by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) as part of the Florida Rider Training Program (FRTP).

While everyone must learn the basics at first, continued training is highly recommended for the experienced driver over the years too. Not only does this allow for further discussion of traffic trends and laws that pertain to motorcyclists, but also continued learning of ‘street-riding strategies,’ additional safety tips, and the opportunity to reverse bad habits that can really stick over time. Such courses are credited with reducing the number of motorcycle accidents on highways today too, especially as one of the most valuable skills reviewed in class is how to brake more efficiently and come to a stop with short notice.

Most courses, whether for novices or experienced motorcyclists, are affordable and can be taken in a morning or afternoon session, using lasting four to five hours. Along with education, diligence in defensive driving is more important than ever for motorcyclists, as other drivers are usually the greatest threat on the roads.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

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

Helmet Laws: How Effective Are They on Florida’s Roads?

The motorcycling lifestyle entices many in the US—beckoning them to enjoy fresh air and the outdoor landscape passing by, numerous health benefits, financial savings, and lack of environmental impact on our surroundings. Safety is always a concern though, and especially as Florida makes the headlines time and time again, leading in the nation for motorcycle crashes.

That sense of freedom is part of what entices millions of consumers in the US to purchase and ride motorcycles though. There is also great appeal for many in knowing that they can jump on their bikes and take off at a moment’s notice without worrying about a helmet or other protective gear. It is all about choice—but what about the health consequences? Helmet laws tend to be controversial, and often change. Florida reverted in 2000, easing helmet laws on motorcyclists 21 and over, provided they are carrying the required insurance of $10,000 for medical benefits.

Studies have shown that there tends to be a significant rise in injuries and fatalities in states where helmet laws have been repealed, and other data compiled not long after the law was repealed in Florida showed that ‘the change in Florida’s helmet law increased motorcycle rider deaths.’ Restrictions still in place apply to younger riders, but the numbers still showed increases in injuries for those under 21—with too many still not wearing helmets. The FHSMV also reported that since 2000, fatalities for motorcycle operators age 45 and older have increased 174 percent.

The MSF is very clear about their views on the need for protective head gear in ‘What You Should Know About Motorcycle Helmets’:

“Most sport-type activities have their own suitable protective gear and equipment. Motorcycling is no exception. Every rider and passenger should wear over-the-ankle footwear, long pants, a long-sleeved jacket, full-fingered motorcycle gloves, and a helmet manufactured to comply with DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) standards. Helmets work. Helmet effectiveness has been confirmed by scientific studies, while helmet myths – ‘helmets break necks, block vision and impair hearing’ – have been consistently disproved.”

And while helmets can be very effective for protecting the head from injury, they may do little in the event of a serious accident where so much else can go wrong. Motorcyclists are at a much greater risk for traumatic brain injury though, causing long-lasting repercussions or even cause death. Find out more about TBIs in our recent blog, ‘Motorcycle Accidents: Traumatic Brain Injuries All Too Common.’

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

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

Too Many Motorcycle Crashes Still End in Fatality

The motorcycle is so much more than just a utilitarian mode of transportation for those traveling on the highways and byways of the US. Motorcycling is a lifestyle, with great camaraderie enjoyed by those who share an appreciation for the outdoors and a greater sense of freedom in travel. There are actual health benefits to riding a motorcycle too, and novices will usually find themselves quickly getting into shape. Financial benefits abound also: motorcycles can be much less expensive to buy in comparison to a newer car (depending on your preference!), fuel is much cheaper, and in some cases parts and maintenance can be less. The environmental footprint can also be much smaller.

Unfortunately, one of the major downfalls in riding a motorcycle is navigating safety issues while sharing the roads with motorists—and as traffic accidents involving cars increase, so do those involving motorcycles and everyone else. Motorists driving trucks and cars are protected by vehicles weighing exponentially more, not to mention a range of safety mechanisms not available to the motorcyclist. Their vulnerability on the road can lead to much greater risk of leg injuries, broken bones, facial trauma, road rash, traumatic brain injuries, and more.

Even with public access to affordable driving courses, widespread safety information, and a continuing drive for motorists to watch out for motorcyclists on the roads, fatalities have continued to rise, with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data placing Florida in the number one spot for motorcycle crash deaths. The top five counties for fatalities are listed as Miami/Dade, Hillsborough, Broward, Palm Beach, and Pinellas.

While distracted driving has taken an unpleasant hold over motorists in Florida (as well as the rest of the nation as the leading cause for injuries and deaths), speeding, reckless driving, and operating a vehicle while drunk or on drugs are still among the most common reasons for accidents and fatalities. Visibility issues are often a reason for accidents and fatalities too, but motorists are responsible for being alert to everything and everyone around them as they drive, as well as being tolerant of everyone sharing the road. Drivers should always check blind spots, give motorcyclists plenty of space, and be extremely cautious when turning at intersections.

Diligent and defensive driving is more important than ever for today’s motorcyclist. Proper training and experience is necessary before heading out into heavy traffic and promoting a strong presence in traffic can make a great difference, wearing bright colors, revving the engine when necessary, and making eye contact with motorists before turning. Keeping the headlights on and shifting in lanes when needed to avoid being in motorists’ blind spots can help prevent serious accidents too.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact the attorneys at Heintz & Becker. We’ve helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses after accidents. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help!

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