Though driving any motor vehicle can be dangerous in a busy city, riding a motorcycle comes with its own set of risks and hazards that every rider should be mindful of. So before hitting the roads in West Palm Beach, consider following these five safety tips to help avoid becoming involved in a motorcycle accident.
#1: Adhere to all traffic laws.
According to a 2014 study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: motorcyclist deaths occur 27 times more frequently than deaths in other motor vehicles. These statistics are definitely staggering, but may be lessened if traffic laws were followed more closely. As a motorcyclist, here are a few tips that could help keep you or a loved one safe.
- Obey all speed limits
- Abide by traffic lights and signs
- Proceed cautiously through intersections
- Only ride when drug- and alcohol-free
- Yield right of way to pedestrians
- Always check mirrors and look behind you when changing lanes
- Signal when changing lanes
- Stay within lane markings
A note on “staying within lane markings”: According to Florida Statute 316.209, it is illegal to engage in lane splitting (the act of riding between two lanes of traffic). However, sharing a lane of traffic with another motorcyclist is legal and permitted. Additional safety tips include:
- Try not to ride as much between dusk and dawn
- Apply reflective materials to your motorcycle for increased visibility
#2: Take time to keep your motorcycle in premium condition.
Staying safe on the road is determined not only by the experience of the driver and weather conditions, but also by the condition of the vehicle that’s being operated. Be sure to stay on top of all maintenance necessities and service milestones for your motorcycle. For suggestions, see the following easy safety checks to do before you set out for a ride:
Check Signal Lights, Headlight and Taillight
Keeping your lighting instruments in proper working order not only gives you the extra visibility you need on the road, but it is also crucial in notifying other drivers of your movements. Ensure all your lights are functional.
Examine Tires and Brakes
A blowout on a motorcycle can be extremely dangerous, so be sure to check tire pressure and look for any worn-down tread. Anti-lock brakes are also crucial in helping you come to safe stop in an emergency situation.
There is no such thing as having too much vision on the road. Give your mirrors a quick wipe and make sure they are adjusted to give you a clear view of the area around you.
Keep your coolant and hydraulic-clutch fluids up to date and it could save your life. Checking them on a bi-weekly basis can help ensure your safety.
Give your horn a quick test prior to leaving to make sure you have a voice on the loud and often crowded roads of West Palm Beach.
#3: Keep away from high-traffic areas wherever possible.
Driving through high-traffic areas is sometimes unavoidable, but if you can go another route, you may be at a lower risk of a collision. To help you be mindful of these high-traffic areas, here is a list of the 10 most dangerous intersections in West Palm Beach, as reported on myPalmBeachPost.com:
- North Military Trail and 45th St.
- Okeechobee Boulevard and Wabasso Drive/Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.
- North Jog Road and Okeechobee Blvd.
- Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and Spencer Drive/Village Blvd.
- Indian Road and Okeechobee Blvd.
- Okeechobee Boulevard. and North State Road 7
- North Robbins Drive and Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.
- Okeechobee Boulevard and South Tamarind Avenue/Parker Ave.
- Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and West Executive Center Dr.
- South Congress Avenue and Okeechobee Blvd.
Be sure to keep up to date with current traffic reports on the Florida Highway Patrol website before hitting the road.
#4: Wear protective gear while riding, every time.
To ensure that staying safe is a top priority, always wear a helmet while riding. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a useful guide to identify the differences between safe and unsafe helmets if you need help finding the safest option for you. It’s also important to think about wearing additional protective eyewear, heavy fabrics (leather, denim, etc), closed-toed shoes, bright colors and reflective material, especially for instances of bad weather.
#5: Be a defensive rider.
A few ways to be defensive while riding include: keeping your headlights on, avoiding being other drivers’ blind spots, always signaling well in advance before changing lanes or making a turn, keeping a ready and analytical eye out for the moves of other drivers, and always keeping a safe distance from everyone else on the road.
Sometimes, however, these accidents are unavoidable. That’s why it’s essential to know who to count on for legal help. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident in West Palm Beach or elsewhere in South Florida, contact us at 1-800-33-COHEN, or view our West Palm Beach case study for more information today: