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Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Serving Families Throughout Jacksonville

Motorcycling is a popular and fuel-efficient means of transportation and provides a social focus for communities of recreational motorcyclists. However, from a traffic safety perspective, motorcyclists are considered a high-risk group of road users.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and our law firm would like to remind drivers that sharing the road with motorcycles is more than a courtesy—it’s the law!

Research shows motorcyclists are significantly overrepresented in traffic crashes and fatalities each year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are roughly 28 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and 4 times more likely to be injured.


A proper helmet is the most important piece of motorcycle safety equipment. The federal government estimates wearing a helmet reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 37%. Unhelmeted riders are 3 times more likely than helmeted ones to sustain traumatic brain injuries in the event of a crash.

Universal helmet laws, or state laws that require helmet use for all riders including passengers, are extremely effective. In the past, the federal government required states to pass universal helmet laws to be eligible for certain safety and highway construction funds. Nearly every state took advantage of this, but once this incentive was removed, states began to repeal or weaken their laws.

Wearing a helmet may or may not be legally required depending on where you live, but it’s widely considered the best way to improve a rider’s safety.

If you or someone you know operates a motorcycle, please ensure helmet use during every ride. Importantly, this should include travel that takes a rider out of one state and into another, as helmet laws vary significantly by state.

Follow these simple reminders to help keep motorcyclists safe:

  • Use EXTRA caution when turning left. In fatal crashes involving a motorcycle and another passenger vehicle, many of these crashes involved the passenger vehicle turning left into a motorcyclist who was riding straight or passing. Take a few extra moments to ensure the crossing path is clear.
  • Allow more follow distance when driving behind a motorcycle. Aim for three or four seconds. This gives the motorcycle rider more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Motorcycle riders may suddenly need to change speed or adjust their lane position to avoid various road hazards.
  • Slow down at intersections. If you’re turning at an intersection and your view of oncoming traffic is partially obstructed, wait until you can see around the obstruction, sufficiently scan for all roadway users (e.g., motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.), and proceed cautiously.
  • Share the road, but not the lane! Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Though it may seem like there’s enough room in a single lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, looks can be deceiving. A motorcyclist needs room to maneuver safely.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows motorcyclists to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.

Motorcycle riding is a popular form of recreation and transportation for millions of Americans—let’s all work hard to keep them safe. Please take a few moments to share these important safety reminders with friends and family.