According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
“Motorcyclist deaths occurred 27 times more frequently than fatalities
in other vehicles, based on 2014 crash data.” To help keep motorcyclists
safe, the NHTSA urges riders to wear Department of Transportation (DOT)
compliant helmets and to always make sure they are visible to other motorists.
In order to reduce your risk of being in a motorcycle crash, follow the
1. Make Sure You’re Licensed to Ride
Driving a motorcycle is very different than driving a car or truck. While
the requirements for motorcycle licensing vary from state-to-state, all
states require that people have a motorcycle license endorsement, which
supplements their regular driver’s license. For you to drive a motorcycle
legally in Florida, you must pass a written test, along with an on-cycle
test administered by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. For Palm
Beach County locations,
2. Wear a DOT-Approved Helmet
Section 316.211(1) of the Florida Statutes it says, “A person may not operate or ride
upon a motorcycle unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear
securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle
Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department
of Transportation.” In effect, you are legally required to wear
a DOT-approved helmet, but doing so also protects your brain in the event
of a serious crash. When shopping for helmets, look for the DOT symbol
on the back. If your helmet doesn’t come with a face shield, which
protects you from wind, rain, dust, insects and stones, wear goggles to
protect your eyes.
3. Be a Model Rider
Model riders follow the traffic laws and obey the posted speed limit.
They also ride defensively at all times because they know that most crashes
occur because motorists fail to “see” motorcyclists. When
riding, always yield to pedestrians, always check your mirrors before
changing lanes, and proceed with caution at intersections whether going
straight or turning left in front of oncoming vehicles.
4. Ask for Help After a Crash
Since motorcycle riders have very little protection, their injuries can
be catastrophic after a crash. Because of this lack of protection, a motorcyclist
may have such severe injuries that he or she is incapable of gathering
witness information after a crash. If this happens to you, ask the emergency
responders or a bystander to gather the witnesses’ names and contact
information for you. If you can’t do it, ask someone at the scene
to take pictures with their smartphone and have them send the pics to
your phone and email.
5. Don’t Give Statements Until You Have an Attorney
After a crash, be careful about giving statements. It’s acceptable
to speak to the police, but avoid giving any statements to an insurance
company before you’ve consulted a personal injury attorney.
Riding is exhilarating – it offers freedom and mobility – something
you just don’t get from driving regular motor vehicles. Unfortunately,
though, along with freedom of the road comes inherent risks that you cannot
control. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident,
contact our firm to work with an attorney who has extensive experience representing clients in
motorcycle accident claims.