Drivers should expect to see more motorcyclists on Florida roadways as thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to roar into Daytona for Bike Week. Florida has the most motorcycle fatalities in the nation, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Florida: Motorcyclists accounted for one-fifth (19%) of motor vehicle fatalities in the state, while only making up about seven percent of licensed motorists.
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According to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey, nearly one in five motorcyclists (16%) do not have motorcycle insurance. The estimated economic cost to society of each motorcycle fatality is $1.48 million. Economic costs include lost productivity, medical costs, legal and court costs, emergency services costs, insurance administration costs, property damage, and workplace losses.
“Since the repeal of the helmet law in Florida, motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled,” said Karen Morgan, Public Policy Manager, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “While helmet usage is a controversial issue among riders – bottom line they save lives.”
One-third (32%) of motorcyclists in Florida do not think they should be required to wear a helmet when riding. Although helmet requirements are a controversial issue, many riders claim to wear some form of safety gear while riding.
The majority of bike riders wear the following safety gear when riding:
- Helmet (86%)
- Face Shield or Glasses (81%)
- Boots (64%)
- Gloves (63%)
- Jacket or vest with protective armor (55%)
“Bikers should do everything possible to make themselves visible to motorists while riding,” said Josh Carrasco, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Motorists need to keep their attention on the task of driving and be alert for increased motorcycle traffic.
Motorcyclists can increase their visibility by riding with their lights on or adding reflective gear to their bike.”
Safety Tips for Motorists:
- Respect motorcycle riders.Motorcycles are vehicles too and have the same privileges as an automobile, so be sure to give them ample room.
- Look and Listen.Even if a motorcycle is loud, don’t expect to hear it. Actively look for motorcycles in traffic.
- Leave Room.Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the motorcyclists. Uneven terrain, wet roads, and heavy traffic often require a motorcycle rider to react and maneuver differently than automobiles.
- Be aware. Take extra caution when making a left-hand turn, because most automobile-versus-motorcycle crashes occur during left-hand turns.
- Don’t drive distracted.A driver who takes their eyes off the road for two seconds doubles their risk of getting into a crash.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists:
- Wear safety gear.Helmets that meet a high protection standard, eye wear, closed-toe footwear and protective clothing reduce your risk of injury or death in a crash. Remember, the only thing between you and the ground is your protective gear
- Be visible.Keep headlights, marker and taillights on at dusk and dark or rainy weather. Wear bright clothing or put reflective strips on your bike to be more visible to other motorists. Avoid being in the blind spots of cars and trucks by following three to four seconds behind the vehicle in front of you.
- Use sound judgment.Avoid weaving between lanes while riding. Be sure to use your signals and stick to the speed limit.
- Get proper training.Completing a motorcycle safety course can not only make you a better rider, but save you money on your motorcycle insurance.