As a Melbourne Fl motorcycle lawyer with decades of experience, I have more than a passing familiarity with the circumstances that lead to motorcycle accidents. As a biker with more saddle time in a month than many get in a year, I also feel fairly well qualified to offer some nonprofessional advice on keeping yourself safe while riding.
The biggest dangers you will face while riding will come from other people on the road. There is very little you can do about their ignorance or lack of attention, other than to ride defensively and arm yourself with the proper skill set to minimize their impact.
That being said, the main focus of this article will be things you can control that will decrease the odds of you having a motorcycle accident. Pun intended.
Speed and Acceleration
Excessive speed is one of the top causes of accidents for both cars and motorcycles. The big difference is that unless your daily drive is a top-fuel dragster, you’re not likely to drive a car that will accelerate like a bike.
This makes it very easy to exceed a safe riding speed before you realize it. As your speed increases, you add to your needed braking distance and reduce the time you have to react to the unexpected. Speed limits are posted for a reason. Stay at or below the posted speed limit and you’ll have a much better chance of reaching your destination safely.
Road Debris in Corners
One of the worst things that can happen to you on a bike is to break traction while in a curve. That is how low sides occur. It may feel cool to sweep the inside of a curve and rocket out the other side, but it can also bring your day or life to an abrupt end.
Trash, gravel and general junk naturally migrate to the center and outsides of roads — more so to the outer edges. It’s just the nature of how traffic and the wind vehicles generate move things; to stay as safe as possible, avoiding riding in these danger zones.
Grabbing the Front Brake
I’ve talked before about learning to balance the use of both your front and rear brakes. Still, it is a much too common occurrence that a rider gets into a tight spot and grabs their front brake hard. The end result of this is a high side crash.
If you are lucky enough to be traveling in a perfectly straight line, you are going to do an Endo at best. If your wheels are turned the slightest bit offline, you can expect to be airborne with your bike chasing you — never a good situation to be in.
Firstly, lane splitting — riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic — is illegal in the state of Florida. But you don’t have to spend much time on the road to see people doing it.
Opinions differ greatly on the safety and benefits of filtering, but the problem with doing it in a state like Florida where it is illegal is that other drivers haven’t been taught to look for it. They will ease their noses out in front of you to try to force a lane change or perform other maneuvers that will end very poorly for you.
I know this is a dead horse, but I am never going to stop beating it. One of the worse things you can do, from a safety standpoint, is drink and then climb in the saddle. It dulls your senses, slows your reaction time and interferes with your thought processes.
Just don’t do it. There are easier ways to die than riding a motorcycle while under the influence.