Unlike many drivers on the road, motorcyclists often have to take special precaution for a lot of hazards that may be an extra risk for them while riding a motorcycle. And on the busy streets of Ft. Lauderdale, it’s even more important to know how to stay safe while operating a motorcycle in a sea of bigger vehicles.
Here are a few tips to help avoid motorcycle accidents:
#1: Make sure your motorcycle is prepared for riding.
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just getting started, the amount of experience you have doesn’t matter if your motorcycle itself isn’t fit to handle the open road. Make sure your bike is in good working condition by checking the following:
Headlight, Taillight and Signal Lights
Busy roads call for clear, functioning signals and lights. Check yours and ensure they are working properly by giving them a quick test before leaving.
Tires and Brakes
Take a look at your tires and see if there are any signs of low tire pressure or worn-down tread, as these can lead to blowouts on the road. You’ll also want to ensure that you have anti-lock brakes to help you stop safely when emergency stops are required. With the many dangerous conditions of the road, especially bad weather, it’s crucial to be able to stop quickly and not skid off the road and crash into something.
Make sure your mirrors are clean and adjusted properly before you ever get on the road to keep your view of other drivers clear.
Two major fluids to keep up to date in your motorcycle are your coolant and hydraulic clutch fluids, so it’s important to check these on at least a bi-weekly basis.
Test out your motorcycle’s horn to ensure it’s working properly. It can make all the difference on a busy road that’s filled with vehicles much bigger and, at times, more dangerous than yours.
#2: Abide by traffic rules.
Many drivers bend the rules of the road on a daily basis, but it can be especially dangerous for motorcyclists to do so. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclist deaths occurred 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, based on 2014 fatal crash data. Because of these statistics, it’s even more important to ride responsibly. Here are some quick ways to do just that:
- Obey traffic lights and signs
- Abide by the speed limit
- Stay within lane markings
- Leave an abundance of room between you and the vehicle in front of you
- Be drug- and alcohol-free while riding
- Proceed through intersections with caution
- Yield to pedestrians
Other tips include:
- Check your mirrors and look behind you when changing lanes
- Use signals when changing lanes
- Apply reflective materials to your motorcycle for increased visibility
- Try not to ride as much between dusk and dawn
#3: Avoid high-traffic areas.
In our article “Ways to Avoid Getting in a Car Accident: Ft. Lauderdale”, we highlighted some of the most dangerous intersections in the Ft. Lauderdale area. Here are the top ones to avoid if you can:
- Eastbound East Sunrise Blvd. at Northeast 15th Ave.
- Southbound Northeast 15th Ave. at East Sunrise Blvd.
- Southbound North Federal Hwy. at East Oakland Park Blvd.
- Westbound Northwest 62nd St./West Cypress Creek Rd. at Northwest Ninth Ave./Powerline Rd.
- Eastbound Northwest 62nd St./West Cypress Creek Rd. at Northwest 31st Ave.
- Southbound Northwest 31st Ave. at Northwest 62nd St./West Cypress Creek Rd.
- Eastbound West Sunrise Blvd. at Northwest Ninth Ave.
- Westbound West Sunrise Blvd. at Northwest Ninth Ave.
- Eastbound East Commercial Blvd. at North Federal Hwy./U.S. 1
- Westbound East Commercial Blvd. at North Federal Hwy./U.S. 1
#4: Use protective gear while riding.
To ensure you’re being the very safest you can be, always wear a helmet that meets the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standard. These helmets generally weigh about three pounds and are marked with a permanent label inside that provides information about its proper care and use. Other items to wear while riding are leather or heavy denim to protect your skin, thick gloves to protect your hands and to provide a better grip on the handlebars, a face shield (on your helmet) or other protective eyewear, durable closed-toe shoes that cover the ankles, and bright or reflective colors for others to see you more clearly.
#5: Be a defensive rider.
Even if you follow the previous four tips, there’s still a high chance for an accident to occur, simply because of another driver’s negligence. That’s why being a defensive driver is so important. Ways to do this are always riding with your headlights on, avoiding other drivers’ blind spots, signaling well in advance, watching out for vehicles making turns or lane changes, and keeping a good distance between yourself and others.
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 Ft. Lauderdale or within South Florida, contact us at 1-800-33-COHEN today, or view one of our Ft. Lauderdale case studies below.