The thought of teens riding around on motorcycles strikes fear in the heart of many parents and with good reason. An estimated 640 people under the age of 21 were injured in motorcycle accidents in 2011 in Florida alone, according to the FDOT Crash Analysis Reporting System (CARS). From our family to yours, we share a few facts about the risks of motorcycle riding, and some motorcycle safety tips to promote safety for your teens on the road.
Understanding the Risks of Riding a Motorcycle
Without a doubt, riding a motorcycle has inherent risks. There is a high risk of serious injury and fatality in the instance of a wreck.
The FDOT reports that:
- 29 percent of motorcycle traffic fatalities were associated with a traumatic brain injury in 2010;
- 35 percent of motorcycle accident victims sustained injuries to multiple areas of the body in 2010;
- In non-fatal motorcycle crashes, the two most common types of injuries were fractures (67 percent) and injuries to internal organs (23 percent); and
- Broward County ranked number two in the state for the highest number of motorcycle fatalities behind Miami-Dade.
Other factors that may make teens more susceptible to accident include:
- poor ability to detect hazards;
- underestimation of their crash risk and an overestimation of their riding abilities;
- tendency to engage in risky, aggressive driving behaviors;
- driving under the influence; and
- higher rates of driving distractedly.
Florida’s Motorcycle Laws Teens Need to Know
If your teen is preparing to become a licensed motorcycle rider, you should be aware that Florida imposes the following laws:
- all riders have to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their regular driver license;
- the minimum age to get an endorsement is 16 years old;
- riders have at least a regular Class E driver license; and
- all riders have to complete a basic motorcycle safety course approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).
To get his endorsement, your teen will have to complete a written exam that will test his knowledge of basic road safety and motorcycle laws. He will also have to undergo a driving test on a motorcycle, and take a vision and hearing test, as well.
Tips to Keep Teen Bikers Safe
Before your teen hits the road, try sharing the following tips with him or her:
- Do not take along passengers. You might want to make this your family’s stringent rule. Riding with passengers takes additional skills and experience.
- Never ride without a helmet. Not only is it mandatory for all riders under 21, but it protects the skull and brain. Plus, a good helmet with a wind shield will protect the face and eyes from injury.
- Wear proper gear. Sure, black leather may look cool, but it also serves functional purpose. Tough, durable material will protect skin from injury, so make sure your teen is properly dressed before each ride.
- Drive safely. Sounds simple, but showing off, overestimating abilities, and driving like daredevil will just increase the risk of a crash. Follow the rules of the road religiously and drive responsibly.
If you or your teen has recently been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact us at Chalik & Chalik for legal counsel about filing an injury claim. Feel free to call us for a no-cost consultation at (855) 529-0269 so we can go over your case and discuss your legal options.