Increasing Motorists Awareness of Sharing the Road to Decrease Florida Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycles, cars, SUVs, and trucks are all technically considered legal vehicles on Florida roadways, but they differ greatly. Motorcycles weigh less than 1,500 pounds, cars weigh in around 4,000 pounds, SUVs weigh about 4,300 pounds, and trucks could weigh anywhere from 15,000 pounds to over 30,000 pounds.
Motorcyclists in Florida share the roadway with these larger vehicles and are repeatedly the victims in South Florida motorcycle crashes, as they are often invisible to other motorists.
It is not uncommon to hear that “the motorcycle came out of nowhere.” Sometimes there are motorcyclists who speed, swerve between cars, and make themselves hard to spot, but the majority of the time it is the drivers of the other vehicles who do not look for motorcycles.
Yes, motorcycles are smaller and difficult to see at times, but motorists have a responsibility to pay attention to the road, look out for motorcycles, learn to spot them better in traffic, and double check the mirrors before changing lanes.
Although inclement weather, traffic, bike defects, and objects in the roadway are all reasons motorcycle accidents in Florida occur, the number-one threat to motorcyclists’ safety is drivers of other motor vehicles.
South Florida motorcycle crashes with other vehicles often occur because drivers of passenger cars, SUVs, and trucks participate in:
- Aggressive driving
- Drunk driving
- Negligent driving
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
The next time a driver sees motorcyclists on the road, he or she needs to remember that riders are not protected, as they do not have seatbelts, airbags, or anything to absorb the crash impact besides their bodies. This is why motorcyclists often are seriously injured or die as a result of a motorcycle crash with another vehicle.
Although motorcyclists should wear helmets and other safety gear to help protect them in the event of an accident, other motorists need to increase their awareness of sharing the roads with motorcyclists. Things drivers could do to save lives include checking mirrors twice, signaling intentions earlier, yielding to motorcyclists, and leaving enough room when following or passing a motorcycle.