This month, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is reminding motorists statewide to share the road with motorcycles and bicycles in an effort to reduce crashes involving these vulnerable road users. DHSMV’s Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month is in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and the Florida Trucking Association.
“We are almost never on the road alone- we share it with vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles and pedestrians,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Learn your roles and responsibilities on the road and look out for one another to ensure everyone can Arrive Alive.”
In 2016 preliminarily, there were 10,297 motorcycle crashes and 6,580 bicycle crashes in Florida, or more than 46 motorcycle or bicycle crashes every day. As a result of these crashes in 2016, there were 501 motorcycle and 133 bicycle fatalities.
“The Florida Highway Patrol is asking both motorists and motorcyclist to use caution and Share the Road,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Safety is FHP’s number one priority and by staying alert, drivers and riders can help create a safer road environment for everyone.”
Motorcyclists under the age of 30 accounted for almost 30 percent of all motorcycle crashes, and almost 82 percent of all motorcyclists involved in a crash were men. Motorists are reminded never to share the lane with a motorcycle, maintain a four-second buffer zone between you and a motorcyclist and increase space when encountering bad weather and road conditions. Do not follow too closely behind a motorcycle or bicycle.
“To best equip Florida’s motorcycle operators for safe, responsible motorcycling, the DHSMV administers the Florida Rider Training Program,” said Robert Kynoch, Director of Motorist Services. “Through this statewide program, certified course providers educate motorcycle operators on the fundamentals necessary to ride safely and avoid crashes while sharing the road in Florida.”
Although bicyclists age 15-19 had the highest number of bicycle crashes out of all the age groups, bicyclists age 50-59 had the highest number of fatalities from bicycle crashes with one-third of bicyclists killed in a crash in 2016. In Florida, a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and has all of the privileges, rights and responsibilities on public roads (except for expressways) that a motor vehicle operator does. Motorists and bicyclists should refer to the official Florida Driver License Handbook for more safety tips about operating on roadways.
“Sharing the road responsibly is critical, especially considering the number of police officers who work on bicycles and motorcycles to keep our residents safe,” said Coconut Creek Police Chief Butch Arenal, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “Stay alert, watch for these vehicles and help us keep Florida’s roads and highways safer for all users.”
“Last January, Orange County Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, our ‘Gentle Giant’ hero, was killed in a traffic crash while riding his motorcycle to the scene of the assassination of Orlando Police Sergeant Debra Clayton. To promote traffic safety, and to honor Deputy Lewis, the Florida Sheriffs Association proudly endorses the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month this May,” stated Sheriff Jerry Demings, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association.
“Two-wheeled vehicles are some of the most vulnerable on the road, and that means we must be extra vigilant to ensure their safety,” said Ken Armstrong, President and CEO of the Florida Trucking Association. “Knowing the proper way to share the road with bicycles, motorcycles and commercial vehicles needs to be a priority for every motorist on the road. Especially in the trucking industry, where many of our own are motorcycle enthusiasts, this issue is an important one because big blind spots and small vehicles don’t always mix well.”
Visit DHSMV’s website for more information and resources for the Motorcycle and Bicycle Awareness Month: Share the Road campaign. The public is encouraged to report dangerous drivers by dialing *FHP (*347).
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Twitter @FLHSMV or find us on Facebook.