The coronavirus pandemic closed schools and businesses while putting a stop to recreational activities and local events. As efforts to ‘flatten the curve’ and reduce community spread have proven somewhat effective in slowing down COVID-19, there is increasing talk of getting our communities back to normal.
Springtime in Florida typically brings an abundance of motorcycle rallies and group rides. Unfortunately, many of these got canceled or postponed during the pandemic. Now, people are eagerly looking forward to getting the ‘all clear’ so that they can gear up for these events. Amidst the excitement, reducing your risks of motorcycle accidents remains a priority. The following is important information to be aware of regarding the risks and some simple tips you can follow to help ensure your safety.
Motorcycle Events: Cancellations and Rescheduling Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Motorcycle riding is a popular activity for people in Fort Myers and across the state. Cyclefish offers an extensive calendar of Florida motorcycle rallies and events. Many of those held annually in the spring and eagerly anticipated by motorcycle enthusiasts have had to be either canceled or delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Ron DeSantis recently took steps to reopen some beaches in North Florida. It is a move that mirrors that of federal government officials slowly getting back to normal and reopening parks and businesses that have been closed since mid-March. Provided there is no sudden spike in coronavirus cases, many of the motorcycle events planned for May and the summer months are likely to go on as scheduled. This includes the popular Fort Myers Bike Nights, the first of which is scheduled for the evening of May 9, 2020.
Motorcycle Rally and Event Safety
Motorcycle rallies and events offer a way for riders to share fun and fellowship. In some cases, there are large numbers of merchants tied to these events and charity fundraising that goes on, benefiting the community. However, it is important to be aware that these rallies do pose a certain amount of risk for those involved. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), close to 11,000 people are injured in motorcycle accidents each year. Accidents can be even more likely during motorcycle events as a result of the following:
- Drinking and driving: While there is nothing wrong with bikers getting together to have a few drinks, there is a danger that they will get back on their motorcycles and continue riding after. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and a common cause of potentially fatal motorcycle accidents.
- Crowded road conditions: It can be fun sharing the road with others who share your enthusiasm for riding. However, it is important to maintain a safe riding distance. Riding too close to each, getting too close to motor vehicles, and jockeying for position within a group can cause motorcycle accidents to happen.
- Reckless riding behaviors: Whenever large groups of people gather, there is the chance that some may be tempted to show off. Speeding, tailgating, and disregarding traffic signs or signals can put riders at serious risk.
- Actions of other motorists: Motorists often fail to appreciate the difference between driving a car and riding a motorcycle. Sudden stops, improper passing, tailgating or aggressive driving behaviors on their part often contribute to motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycle Rally and Event Safety Tips
To protect yourself against motorcycle accidents and injuries, it is important to be aware of the dangers and to take certain precautions before attending motorcycle rallies, events, or any type of group ride. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) recommends the following tips:
- Be prepared: Arrive with a full tank of gas, make sure your motorcycle is well maintained, and wear the appropriate safety gear. This includes riding boots or other closed-toe shoes, long pants, a helmet, and sunglasses to reduce glare.
- Familiarize yourself with the rules: Rally and group ride organizers should establish goals, procedures, and rules for motorcyclists to follow well in advance of the event. Make sure to familiarize yourself with these rules or other guidelines before joining a group ride.
- Familiarize yourself with the event space: Whether you attend a group ride or an event featuring vendors at which bikers can stop and walk around, familiarize yourself with the layout. Having a clear sense of direction and knowing where traffic tie-ups are likely to occur and where people may be congregating can help to prevent motorcycle accidents.
- Ride in the proper formation: There are several types of formations used in group motorcycle rides, depending on the organizers and the amount of road space. Some use a staggered formation whereas others do single file or side by side. Follow whatever formation is used, keep pace with other motorcyclists, and pull to the side if you need to stop or take a break. This helps to ensure even flow and reduces motorcycle accident risks.
What to do if a Motorcycle Accident Happens
In the event a motorcycle accident happens, there are clear guidelines you need to follow under the Florida Statutes in terms of reporting and your actions at the scene. To protect yourself and your rights in a claim, follow these steps:
- Report the accident immediately to local law enforcement;
- Call an ambulance is anyone suffers serious injuries;
- Exchange personal contact, motorcycle registration, and insurance information with the other driver involved;
- Make note of the exact time and location of the accident, as well as any witnesses at the scene;
- Get medical care for any injuries you suffer, regardless of their severity;
- Follow all of your doctor’s instructions regarding work or activity restrictions and follow-up care.
Contact Our Fort Myers Motorcycle Attorney
Motorcycle accident injuries have a tendency to be severe and can impact you for years into the future. To ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to in a claim, get the Bernardo Law Firm on your side. Contact our Fort Myers motorcycle accident attorney and request a consultation today.