Motorcycles and the sport of motorcycle riding over the past few years have seen dramatic increases in ownership involving all age groups, occupations and social positions. No longer is the motorcycle just a mode of transportation primarily used by blue collar workers as their number one source of transportation. Motorcycles have finally become a mainstream pastime in this country. Doctors, lawyers, judges, accountants and just about every field of endeavor have motorcycle owners counted in their ranks. High school and college age drivers are buying motorcycles and motor scooters at alarming rates. Where the bicycle a few years ago was these younger driver’s chief mode of transportation, the mechanized cycle or scooter is starting to replace it. Our college campuses are not the only place these vehicles are showing up anymore. Roadways, urban streets and non-restricted highways in and around Pensacola and the entire Florida panhandle are seeing tremendous increases in the number of open framed vehicles sharing the road with traditional cars and trucks.
Today more than at any other time in our transportation history the importance of understanding the rules of the road for motorcyclists as well as car and truck drivers is paramount to safety. Florida has enacted driving restrictions on motorcycle and scooter owners, requiring a state sanctioned 2 day drivers course and licensing requirements.
Unfortunately, even with these measures in place, motorcycle and motor scooter accidents are at an all-time high. Traditional drivers are being asked to share the road with increasing numbers of vehicles, many much smaller and less visible. This, coupled with the increase distractions on the part of many drivers using cell phones, pagers and similar devices while driving, has exacerbated the situation. Additionally, mandatory helmet requirements have been relaxed in Florida, thus adding to the amount of motorcycle accident injuries sustained to head and neck traumas.
Riding a motorcycle basically comes down to the driver making a decision about the amount of risk they are willing take while driving. Most experienced motorcycle drivers don’t have a week that goes by without encountering a situation where a potential accident has to be avoided. Motorcyclists are virtually invisible to the average driver and because of the size of most bikes, blind spots and distractions are the number one causes of accidents. Many cyclists take unnecessary risks but the majority of accidents that occur are the fault of a car, pick-up truck or truck driver that just didn’t see the motorcycle.
Throughout the year, Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Pensacola Beach and our entire surrounding communities enjoy a large influx of visitors because of our beautiful waterways and beaches. Most travelers come by car and that added congestion to our highways increases significantly the number of motorcycle and motor scooter accidents. Florida also enjoys a reputation as the “Sunshine State” and has become a destination for motorcycle events, bike weeks, club meetings etc. adding more and more cyclists to the roadways.
There are 4 basic learned behaviors that have to be mastered by any motorcyclist before he or she can reduce their risk of accident and injuries:
Number 1. Access the risk involved in driving safely; conditions of the road, weather, congestion and visibility, matching traffic speed, patterns and drivers.
Number 2. Master the skills necessary to avoid a collision. Master high speed driving, turning, braking and stopping. Practice, practice, practice.
Number 3. Defensive driving at all times. Understand where the motorcycle is in relationship to other drivers. Anticipate the moves, actions and wants of other drivers you are sharing the road with.
Number 4. Most importantly, make a conscience decision not to get distracted while operating a motorcycle or motor scooter. Concentration of the drive at hand is the most important thing while operating a motorcycle.
If you or a family member have been injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault you need to seek legal advice from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Pensacola. Artie Shimek has represented motorcycle victims and their families for over 30 years. Artie understands the mentality of motorcyclists and knows the thrills and fears associated with riding a motorcycle and has witnessed the injuries that can be sustained because of the carelessness of others. Our staff is ready to assist you and our consultations are free. We charge no fees nor costs associated with your case unless you win. Call us at 850-434-7995.