Use Common Sense to Stay Safe on Motorcycles
As summer approaches, more and more people will be looking to engage in traditionally summer-related activities. One of those activities may be having fun in the open air environment of a motorcycle. Motorcycling is not just transportation, but a way of life for many people. However, those who do not respect the inherent dangers of riding motorcycles can find themselves seriously injured.
The Use of Helmets
The use of helmets has been a controversial subject in Florida. In 2000, mandatory use of helmets was no longer required for any riders over the age of 21. However, that repeal led to an increase in the number of motorcycle deaths. Trying to address the issue, Florida law then required that cyclists take and pass a mandatory exam.
Regardless of the law, it is always good practice to wear a helmet. In a motorcycle accident case, the failure to use a helmet can be used by the defense to show that a rider contributed to the severity of his or her injuries, regardless of whether using a helmet is legally required or not.
Remember that helmets should fit the rider; one size is not protective for every size head.
Inherent Dangers of Cycling
Motorcycling can be dangerous, as shown by a 2013 study, which found that cyclists are about twice as likely to be involved in single vehicle accidents (accidents that are not caused by or which don’t involve another vehicle). In fact, when the study limited itself to very severe accidents or deaths, 50% of incidents involved the motorcyclist with no other vehicle involved.
Although cyclists should worry about their own behaviors, they also should look out for other vehicles. The same 2013 study showed that when accidents involve cars and motorcycles, the cars are responsible for the accidents about 60% of the time.
Car drivers may perceive motorcyclists as an “annoyance,” and be less fearful of running into them due to their smaller size. They also are harder to see, for car drivers that are distracted with phones and other systems inside the car.
Other Protective Measures
Motorcyclists should try to wear goggles to protect their eyes, as well as gloves, which can protect hands in the event a collision knocks a driver to the ground. Clothing that is baggy can entangle in a motorcycles’ exposed gears, and cause injury to riders. The same is true for untied shoelaces.
The law does require that motorcycles have daytime running lights, and, although not legally required, there are devices that can cause motorcycle headlights to dim intermittently, which may help other drivers see cyclists at night.
Car drivers will usually say that a cyclist “jumped out in front of nowhere,” which means that cyclists may have to be extra cautious in observing speed limits and the rules of the road. Use common sense, and protective gear to stay safe.
The Tampa personal injury attorneys at the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group can answer your questions and help you obtain damages for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.