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Tips for safer motorcycle operation

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Help Make Melbourne Roads Less Dangerous

Before hiking a leg over a motorcycle, riders should be aware of safety regulations required by the State of Florida, as well as specific paperwork that must be filed. These include:

  • possessing a driver's license or a motorcycle license valid in Florida
  • passing the Class E operator's driver license knowledge test
  • completing basic Rider Course in the Florida Rider Training Program
  • obtaining self-Insurance Certificate or motorcycle insurance

In Melbourne and Titusville, it is not required for riders to wear helmets if they're 21 or older, if they're are covered by an insurance policy with at least $10,000 in medical benefits. However, according to Florida DMV, that may not stop police officers from pulling over drivers who look younger than this to verify whether they have a valid helmet exemption. While riders legally have the right to opt out of wearing helmets, WCTV reports that the state is No. 1 for motorcycle accidents.

In a 2016 AAA Consumer Pulse Survey, there was a noticeable difference between whether general motorists and motorcycle riders thought that motorcyclists should wear helmets (85 percent versus 68 percent said yes; 15 percent versus 32 percent said no). However, 86 percent of the motorcyclists surveyed do wear helmets and 81 percent wear face shields. While the reasons for not wearing helmets may vary, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms that helmets do not interfere with a biker's vision or hearing.

DANGERS OF RIDING DRUNK

In 2014, 30 percent of motorcyclists who died from fatal crashes were drunk. In the latest numbers (from 2011), for Florida drivers overall, there were 33,625 DUI convictions. A first DUI (.08 or higher) includes a $250 to $500 fine, 50 hours of community service, less than a year of probation, 12 hours of DUI school and potential imprisonment up to six months). Drivers under 21 will automatically have their Florida drivers license suspended for a BAL of .02 or higher.

Florida motorcyclists convicted of a second DUI will have to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program and will have to utilize this breathalyzer in order to get their bikes to start up. If the interlock test fails, the motorcycle won't start for a few minutes. If they fail a second time, the wait time is even longer. Some drivers may be required to do a rolling re-test, but they will have the opportunity to pull over instead of the engine completely stopping.

AVOID AGGRESSIVE DRIVING

Similar to non-motorized bicycles, it is easy to get comfortable speeding through lanes of traffic – if the motorcycle can fit. The same goes for squeezing into illegal parking spots or riding too close to the lane next to a car or truck. Of course some of that aggression is warranted, such as from cars who leave doors open, which could be potentially fatal if the motorcyclist does not have enough time to get around the open door or brake in time.

Other times, it can be as simple as driving way past the speed limit on I-95 or a reckless turn on the Florida Turnpike, which could lead to greater risks of traffic accidents, personal injury accidents, property damage or slips in bad weather. Obeying traffic laws can greatly lower the chances of accidents. Always seek the consult of a Melbourne motorcycle accident lawyer immediately after your crash.

AREAS OF PRACTICE