Motorcycle fatalities have increased throughout the state of Florida. In 2021, there were 612 motorcycle-related fatalities, up from 573 the previous year. In the Florida panhandle, there were 25 motorcycle-related fatalities in 2021: eight in Escambia, four in Santa Rosa, and 13 in Okaloosa County. Each county saw an increase from the previous year.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, “a large portion of motorcycle crashes involve two key components—poor speed and spatial judgment of other drivers and poor motorcyclist conspicuity.” These crashes often occur because drivers did not see the motorcyclist.
Knowing the cause of these crashes and following these tips can help make the road safer.
- Look for motorcyclists before making a left-hand turn at an intersection.
- Don’t share a lane with a motorcycle.
- Be aware that motorcycles may appear much farther away than they really are.
- Keep your distance. It is recommended to keep a four-second buffer between a vehicle and motorcyclist. Motorcycles can stop much faster than a vehicle can.
- Check blind spots before changing lanes.
- Wear reflective materials.
- Keep headlights on.
- Know the rules of the road. Learn about the law on protective gear and the motorcycle endorsement requirement. According to the CDC, helmets reduce risk of head injury by 69%.
Understanding that the road is a shared space can help everyone—drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, arrive safely.