Seasonal Safety Tips for Riding a Motorcycle in Florida
States with warm climates are the most dangerous for motorcyclists because people are able to ride year-round—and the more you ride, the more likely you are to be involved in a crash. As one of the warmest states in the U.S., it should come as no surprise Florida produces a high number of motorcycle accidents every year. In 2017, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that Florida had the highest number of motorcycle accident fatalities in the U.S. Since then, it has remained one of the top five most dangerous states for motorcyclists.
For the new year, our Florida accident attorneys share tips for riding your motorcycle in every season so you can enjoy the open road worry-free.
Why Are Motorcycles So Dangerous?
Motorcycles are the most dangerous vehicles on the road. Their small size reduces visibility, making them more susceptible to be hit by cars and trucks. They also offer less protection than closed vehicles. Plus, driving fast is exhilarating, which can make it hard for riders to resist going well over the speed limit.
That said, if you want to reduce the chances of crashing your bike, it is vital you take certain precautions. Even in Florida, these can vary greatly depending on the time of year.
Florida’s winters are the mildest in the continental United States, so we fortunately don’t have to worry about freezing conditions involving treacherous snow, ice, and wind. Yet, there remain certain precautions worth taking.
Fog is common and especially dense in the winter months, especially in the early mornings. Never use your high beams on foggy days but do turn on your low beams and keep your distance from other vehicles.
On those rare days when the weather is especially cold and wet, it is best to stay inside. If you do choose to venture out, make sure to reduce your normal speed and increase your following distance behind other vehicles. Bundle up appropriately to keep your body warm and protected.
Because cold weather can cause your tire pressure to drop, check that your tires are inflated properly. Once you start riding, give your tires some time to warm up by taking it slow at the outset.
Springtime is warm and dry, although El Nino can bring about above average amounts of rainfall. The weather is typically very pleasant this time of year, so extra precautions may not be necessary.
However, don’t ignore ordinary safety precautions, which include:
- Ensuring your bike is in working order by checking your tires, mirrors, lights, etc.
- Wearing a helmet with a protective shield & appropriate gear
- Following traffic rules, including obeying the speed limit
- Driving defensively
- Riding sober and rested
There are two important factors that affect how you ride in summer: rain and heat.
Rainfall is heaviest in Florida this time of year (summer is when hurricane season starts, after all). On rainy days, don’t skip protective gear like a rain suit that covers everything from your boots to your gloves. The minutes immediately after it starts to rain are the most dangerous, but it is wise to exercise caution any time roads are wet. While riding, keep your movements slow and smooth—avoid speedy acceleration, hard braking, and abrupt turns. Increase your following distance as well.
Florida summers may be hot and sticky, yet for safety reasons you can’t afford to lose much of your riding gear. Long sleeves and pants can protect you from both the sun and from injuries in case of a crash. Purchase motorcycle gear made specifically for warm weather—these are made with lighter fabrics for increased ventilation. Also, make sure to take precautions against dehydration and sunburn.
Rain and hurricanes continue to persist through Florida’s fall season. Take extra precautions on windy and rainy days—or, even better, don’t ride on such days at all. Storms can start abruptly, so it is advisable to carry your rain gear while riding, just in case. Hail often comes with storms, providing extra incentive to wear your helmet. However, pulling over and seeking shelter during a hailstorm is far safer. Lighting strikes and tornados are frequent, too. For these reasons, we advise not riding your bike during autumn storms at all.
Because fall temperatures can be so unpredictable, we recommend carrying adaptive gear so you can adjust to warmer or cooler weather conditions as needed.
If you are a loved one has been the victim of a motorcycle accident, contact our Florida personal injury attorneys at (850) 764-0383. We can help.