Riding a motorcycle is not for everyone. In a recent article, we shared the questions people should ask themselves before buying a bike. We have also repeatedly stressed the importance of protective gear, and particularly helmets, to prevent disastrous injuries and fatal blows.

In Florida, motorcyclists enjoy the perfect climate to ride their bikes all year round. This is one reason why motorcycles are so popular, and probably why so many bikers make mistakes over and over again. The 5 most frequent causes of bike crashes are:
  • Bends on country roads: Some bends, instead of being even and smooth, tighten up when you enter them. Most motorcyclists don't know the country roads and are surprised when the curve is not what they expected. Sometimes, the road gives you a clue, like poles, trees or hedges indicating if the curve is sharp or smooth. It always pays to brake in the straight line before the curve, and to accelerate once you enter it.
  • Collisions at junctions: Many car or truck drivers quickly glance to one side, then the other, before entering an intersection, counting on their brain to react if some vehicle form appears to present a danger. Motorcycles do not stand out, and are often overlooked. The driver's excuse, "Sorry mate, I didn't see you!" is of little help. Considering that a biker is always vulnerable at intersections, it is best to reduce your speed in all cases, even if the lights are green.
  • Collisions while overtaking: When you are filtering past slow moving traffic, do not assume that cars will not change lanes. Do not overtake a car just because the buddy biker in front of you is doing it. If you need a lot of speed to overtake a car, will you enter a curve or an intersection at too high a speed? Do not overtake on bends, junctions, lay-bys, pedestrian crossings, hills or dips.
  • Loss of control: Usually, bikers lose control of their bikes when they are going too fast to react safely to a change in conditions: a crossing pedestrian or car, a deer, a flooded roadway, a sudden stop. Sudden braking and turning will cause the motorcycle to skid and fall. Experienced motorcyclists may avoid a fall in a few cases, but the best method is to always keep a safe distance between your bike and any potential obstacle.
  • Poor road surface conditions: Bikers are especially susceptible to losing control in poor weather conditions (black ice or wind, e.g.), on oil spills, in flooded areas, or due to potholes or gravel. Looking ahead as far as you can see, focusing constantly on the road surface, and checking your tires for wear and pressure are precautions that can save you a lot of trouble.

Most of all, bikers need to train. Motorcycling is like craftsmanship. You are only good if you are very good. Reflect on your and your buddies' mistakes, the near-misses and the crashes you have heard of. Could it happen to you? Remember that training increases not just your skills, but your enjoyment, too - which is why you bought that bike in the first place.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in North and Central Florida, call the Daytona Beach attorneys of Johnson & Gilbert PA today toll free at (800) 556-8890 and locally at (386) 673-4412 or fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.