Motorcycle Riding Safety in Miami, FL: What You Need To Know
January 6, 2023 | Sagi Shaked | Motorcycle Accidents
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) identifies Florida as having one of the highest numbers of registered motorcycles in the United States, at just over 600,000 in 2021. It is easy to see why motorcycles are so popular, given the Sunshine State’s ample sunlight and laid-back attitude.
There is no doubt that motorcycling is a fun, exhilarating way to commute around Miami or across the state. It is also much more dangerous; J.D. Power asserts that the risk of dying in a motorcycle wreck is 30 times greater than the risk of dying in a car accident.
While there will always be a risk involved in motorcycling, adhering to some basic safety precautions can greatly improve your odds of surviving a motorcycle accident.
Remember Your Helmet and Eye Protection
Florida repealed its previous motorcycle helmet law in 2020. This law required all riders to wear a helmet while riding their motorcycle, regardless of their age or insurance coverage.
Florida has since replaced this law with a new one that exempts riders who are over 21 and who have at least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage for motorcycle accidents. Riders who are 16 years or older and operating low-powered bikes and mopeds are also exempt from wearing a helmet.
Nonetheless, helmets remain one of the greatest tools available to prevent serious injury or death in the event of a motorcycle crash. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that helmets can reduce the risk of death by approximately 40 percent and the risk of a serious head injury by 69 percent.
Eye protection is required of all motorcycle and moped riders, and adhering to this law can help ensure you are not blinded by dirt, dust, or debris while riding.
Proper Clothing Can Help Protect You, Too
No matter the type of motorcycle you ride, you can help protect yourself from lacerations and cuts by wearing appropriate riding clothing: long-sleeved tops, pants, gloves, and sturdy boots or other footwear.
Riding clothing may be uncomfortable on especially warm days, but it can mean the difference between an accident with serious and painful injuries and one where your injuries are not as severe. Cordura and Kevlar are two materials commonly found in protective motorcycle clothing. Leather can also be a suitable material, although it is not as durable.
Many of the Same Motorist Rules Apply to Motorcyclists
You should also remember that, as a motorcyclist, you are subject to virtually all the same traffic laws and rules that motorists must follow. Motorcyclists must, for example, travel in a single lane of travel, although they may ride two abreast within a single lane of travel. Lane-splitting, where motorcyclists travel between two lanes by riding the line dividing separate lanes of travel, is illegal.
Not only should you obey traffic laws to avoid fines and penalties, but they also exist to promote your safety. Some of the leading causes of motorcycle wrecks are prohibited by Florida traffic laws. These include:
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Following other vehicles too closely
By riding defensively and obeying all traffic laws, you will reduce the likelihood of being involved in a wreck and sustaining injuries. Obeying these laws is especially important in crowded, dense areas like Miami.
Having Fun and Staying Safe on a Motorcycle in Miami
By taking safety precautions seriously, recognizing the risks of motorcycling, and obeying the law, you can remain safe while still enjoying the fun and exciting lifestyle that is motorcycling.