What can be more exhilarating than the wind through your hair and the adrenaline rush of a chopper hugging a country or deserted road? Very little beats that thrill. Unfortunately, the hazards of motorcycling might outweigh the fun riding one can be. As a Miami Motorcycle Accident Attorneys, our firm has seen the aftermath of one of the less fortunate riders. As a long-time resident of Florida, I am constantly amazed at how unaware of the surroundings many of our senior citizens are. An 18-wheel tractor trailer “came out of nowhere.” Translation – did not see a huge truck; what chance does the biker have to be seen by that very same driver.
What types of hazards are there?
Busy intersections are intersections are inherently dangerous places for all motorists, particularly when those intersections are busy. At an intersection, vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists are traveling across one another’s paths, often perpendicularly. In addition, while a two-way intersection is dangerous enough, many urban areas have five-way or even six-way intersections, often resulting in extremely complex traffic patterns that are difficult to anticipate.
While intersections put everyone at risk, motorcyclists are at a particularly high risk of involvement in an accident at intersections because their smaller size makes them harder for motorists to spot. As a result, anyone riding a motorcycle should be extra careful when entering or approaching an intersection and make sure to follow the rules of the road.
Congested Roadways Another situation in which motorcyclists are at an increased risk of involvement in a wreck is when they find themselves on a congested road. When vehicles are close to one another, motorcyclists tend to get boxed into areas where there is little room to maneuver. Anyone familiar with Miami’s Palmetto Expressway will often see a motorcyclist navigating between the lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic. While we may get agitated at this practice these riders are risking their lives to save a few minutes. As a motorcyclist, it may be tempting to use your smaller size to zoom through traffic and between cars that are stopped or moving slowly because of heavy traffic. This practice, known as “lane splitting,” is not only illegal in the state of Florida but also extremely dangerous. The complete text of this statute is included herein.
316.209 Operating motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic.—
(1) All motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane and no motor vehicle shall be driven in such manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane. This subsection shall not apply to motorcycles operated two abreast in a single lane.
(2) The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.
(3) No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.
(4) Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.
(5) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply to police officers or firefighters in the performance of their official duties.
(6) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.
History.—s. 1, ch. 71-135; s. 1, ch. 76-31; s. 165, ch. 99-248; s. 1, ch. 2003-92.
Note.—Former s. 316.109.
Many drivers do not expect a motorcyclist to suddenly be beside them and may try and switch lanes without any warning. In addition, any error that you make could cause you to slam into the back of a slower moving or stopped vehicle, potentially throwing you off your bike and into traffic.
Low visibility terrain in most areas of South Florida (actually most of the state) there is little if any change in elevation. For the most part, Florida’s roadways have little to offer the thrill-seeking rider other than flat long stretches of highways and roads. There are areas that do have a fair amount of country roads complete with dips, blind spots, and other hazards for the motorcyclists that choose to navigate.
The truth of the matter is that most accidents involving motorcycles wind up with serious injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and very often less than adequate insurance coverage to cover the cost of treatment. The DRG Law Firm is here to help. We are the Problem Solvers. Call us anytime at 1 888-413-8353. If you’re in an accident, we are the problem solvers.
~ Marc Epstein