TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This May, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is reminding motorists statewide to safely share the road with motorcycles and bicycles in recognition of Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month. In addition, the DHSMV is providing drivers information to safely drive around large commercial vehicles. DHSMV and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol is partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and the Florida Trucking Association to spread these important messages.
“Smaller vehicles are harder to see on the road. Drivers must be sure to always look twice, use caution when changing lanes and give others plenty of space,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Sharing the road is everyone’s responsibility. Whether you operate a large truck, passenger vehicle, motorcycle or bicycle, learn your role on the road and always look out for one another.”
In 2017 preliminarily, there were 9,535 motorcycle crashes and 6,521 bicycle crashes in Florida. That is more than 300 motorcycle and bicycle crashes every week, resulting in 611 motorcycle and bicycle fatalities last year.
“Motorists should use caution when driving around large trucks and watch for motorcycles and bicycles,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “By staying alert, drivers and riders can help create a safer road environment for everyone to Arrive Alive.”
In 2017 preliminarily, of the 10,232 motorcyclists involved in a crash, 42 percent were not wearing a helmet and more than 85 percent were male. Motorists are reminded never to share the lane with a motorcycle, maintain a four-second buffer zone between you and a motorcyclist and increase space when encountering bad weather and road conditions. Do not follow too closely behind a motorcycle or bicycle. Motorists and bicyclists should refer to the official Florida Driver License Handbook for more safety tips about operating on roadways.
“Understanding how to share the road responsibly is critical for the safety of Floridians, visitors and our police officers who work on bicycles and motorcycles,” said Miami Shores Police Chief Kevin Lystad, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “It’s important for motorists to be mindful of these vehicles and help us keep our roads and highways safer for all users.”
“With hundreds of miles of beaches, beautiful scenery, and temperate weather, our citizens and their guests enjoy motorcycling and bicycling all year round. Please join our Florida Sheriffs in supporting the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles “Share the Road” traffic safety initiative,” stated Sheriff Mike Adkinson, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association
In addition to motorcycles and bicycles, motorists are reminded to safely share the road with commercial vehicles. Large trucks do not maneuver like passenger vehicles. Drivers are reminded to stay out of the “No Zone,” the blind spots in front, behind and on both sides of commercial vehicles, and never tailgate. Always pass on the left for maximum visibility and watch for wide turns.
“It is vital to spread the message of safety on the roads for all motorists—whether it’s on two, four, or eighteen wheels,” said Ken Armstrong, President and CEO of Florida Trucking Association. “A large truck can take the length of a football field to stop and has big blind spots. We encourage all drivers to stay alert and practice safe driving techniques to properly share the road with bicycles, motorcycles and commercial vehicles.”
Visit DHSMV’s website for more information and resources for the Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month: Share the Road campaign. The public is encouraged to report dangerous drivers by dialing *FHP (*347).