Each May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and countless private safety organizations and motorcycle clubs observe Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. While riders here in Florida get to use their bikes year-round, May is when other parts of the country start to thaw and riders start to get back out on the roads.
The Importance of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a great opportunity for riders and drivers alike to remind themselves of the risks of careless and aggressive driving. While the influx of riders in northern states serves as a natural reminder, we don’t get that here in Florida. If you’re wondering why this is an important issue, the answer is simple: Motorcycle accidents are on the rise.
According to NHTSA, the latest data available show that the number of fatal motorcycle accidents increased by seven percent from 2011 to 2012. That amounts to more than 300 additional deaths from the year before. Overall, motorcycle accidents are up by a whopping 15 percent – with 93,000 total injuries in 2012. When compared to car drivers, motorcycle riders are roughly six times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident.
Safe Riding Practices
As a motorcycle rider, there are several things you can do both to avoid accidents and to mitigate your injuries when you lay it down. This year, NHTSA is emphasizing two issues in particular for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month:
- Wear a DOT-rated helmet. While riders over 21 with $10,000 in medical benefits insurance are not required to wear helmets under Florida law, wearing a helmet is still highly recommended. Studies show that helmet use has hovered around 60 percent for the last decade. However, there is no disputing that helmets save lives in dangerous situations. If you are getting in the saddle, remember the riders’ mantra: All the Gear, All the Time.
- Don’t drink and ride. It is no secret that alcohol use results in significant impairments when you hop on your bike or get behind the wheel. But, did you know that even being below the legal limit can still put you at a significantly-increased risk of either causing or being unable to avoid an accident? If you have been drinking, play it safe and call a cab or ask a friend to take you home.
Drivers: Share the Road
This May, NHTSA is reminding drivers to share the road with motorcyclists as well. Since we have motorcycles on our roads every day of the year here in Florida, it is easy for drivers to get complacent about motorcycle safety. The next time you go driving, make it a point to actively watch for motorcycles, and be sure to respect their right to share the road.
The Law Office of Timothy Armstrong, P.A. provides aggressive and experienced representation for individuals who have been injured in motorcycle accidents. To learn more about our services, please contact us today.