Florida is number two in the nation for motorcycle ownership. Although it is unlikely that Florida will catch California to take the top spot, motorcycle ownership in Florida is still growing. What does that mean? It means lots of novice riders on the road. Many new bikers get their first taste of motorcycles from friends and family. Let’s face it riding is a social activity. Every rider has heard the old adage that there are only two kinds of bikers, the ones that have laid their bikes down and the ones that haven’t…yet. In this article I will look at some tips for the novice rider to avoid becoming part of that statistic.
Take a Safety Class
In Florida it is required that all persons attempting to obtain a Florida Motorcycle Endorsement must take a Basic Rider Course. The Basic Rider Course provides basic entry-level skills for a new rider. Riders are taught to develop the physical skills of basic control that include straight line riding, stopping, turning/shifting, and then move on to more advanced skills like stopping quickly, cornering, and swerving.
Even with the requirement that all new applicants take and pass the Basic Rider Course, it is estimated that 25% of all motorcycle riders are not licensed and have not taken the course. If you just have not ridden in a while, there are one day courses designed to refresh your skills.
Buying a Motorcycle
Many new riders want to buy the biggest and the baddest motorcycle that they can afford. This is not a good plan for the inexperienced motorcycle rider. Choose a motorcycle that fits you. You should be able to comfortably place your feet, flat footed, when sitting on the motorcycle. The handlebars and controls should feel comfortable to reach and use. You should be able to get the motorcycle on and off center stand. If you are unable to do so, the motorcycle is probably too heavy. Also, invest in anti-lock brakes on your first motorcycle. ABS brakes have been repeatedly shown to significantly shorten the stopping distance of a motorcycle.
An ill fitting motorcycle that is too big invites an accident. Many people worry that if they buy a smaller motorcycle they will not be able to keep up with friends on larger motorcycles. There is no response to this other than it is true. Remember it is also hard to keep up with your friends if you have crashed because the motorcycle you purchased was too big. After all, this is your first motorcycle, not your last.
Helmets and Gear
I know helmets are a touchy subject among bikers and they are not required in Florida. However, new riders would be well served to wear helmets and all the protective gear that they can afford. New riders are more likely to have an accident and without a helmet and proper gear, the injuries are likely to be exponentially worse. Jeans and a t-shirt can actually be scrubbed off by the road in less than one second. Road rash injuries are incredibly painful and can be avoided by wearing the proper attire.
By practice, I do not mean just go on rides with friends. Go out to an empty parking lot and get a feel for you motorcycle. Learn how to properly apply the front and rear brakes. Learn how your motorcycle will react, turn and stop in certain situations. Take an advanced rider course to hone your skills.
In an accident between a motorcycle and a car, usually the driver of the car is at fault. Does this mean there is nothing that can be done to avoid these motorcycle accidents? Absolutely not, if anything it means that motorcycle riders must be more alert and avoid all distractions. Bikers, especially new bikers, need to be extra vigilant for cars changing lanes or making other unexpected maneuvers. Tailgating on a motorcycle can be deadly, do not do it. Avoid riding in a car’s blind spot and always signal your intentions early. Always be on the lookout for cars to pull into your path.
Don’t Drink and Don’t Speed
Almost 50% of motorcycle accidents list speed and/or alcohol as a contributing factor. Essentially they both have the same effect. They both make it less likely that a rider will be able respond to a dangerous condition in time to avoid it. By simply not drinking and not speeding every new rider greatly reduces the chance that they will be involved in a motorcycle crash.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Lawyer at Jones Law Group
Have you or a loved one been injured in a motorcycle accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg motorcycle accident attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of another, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.
Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707