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No matter how much we may try to ignore the fact, riding a motorcycle can be risky. According to the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) you are approximately 35 times more likely to be involved in an accident involving serious injury or death on a bike, than in a passenger vehicle.

Considering the multiple layers of safety features that today’s cars and trucks have built into them and the fact that on a bike, you are really the only active safety feature, this is easy to understand. On a motorcycle there are no airbags or safety restraints and unfortunately, the number 1 crumple zone is you.

The purpose of these statements isn’t to try and scare you or to deter you from riding. On the contrary, in my personal opinion, there is no feeling to compare with riding down an open stretch of road with a few good friends and no schedule to keep. To me that is the definition of freedom. These facts are presented only to drive home the point that, on a bike, your safety is your responsibility. You have to take care of yourself because you are all that you have.

To that end, I present for you with a short list of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from a serious injury this riding season.


In the State of Florida to get a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license you are going to have to complete a 15 Hour Basic Riding Course. In it you will learn the basic rules of the road as they pertain to motorcycles, hand signals, basic bike handling skills, etc. These are excellent courses and I encourage you to pay close attention in them.

They are a basic course, though, and while well worthwhile, they are far from complete. The number one thing you can do to assure your riding safety is to take an Advanced Rider Course. In it you will learn how to utilize all the tools that your bike and your head put at your disposal safe and the handling sections of the course alone is worth more than the price of admission.

To learn more about these classes you can contact the FRTB or your local ABATE Chapter.

Be Easy to See

The number one excuse heard from passenger vehicle drivers when they hit a biker is “I didn’t see them.” True, this doesn’t excuse them from liability, but it doesn’t do much for the poor biker either.

The facts are that bikes are smaller and harder to see than four wheeled vehicles and it is to our benefit to make ourselves easier to see. This means running with our headlights on and wearing bright colors. Black leather may look cool, but it doesn’t do much to make you noticeable, especially in low light conditions. It is better to be living peacock than a dead crocodile so brighten up your wardrobe to stay safe.

Gear Up for Safety

I know the temptation to jump on your bike and take off on a summer day wearing cutoffs and sandals can be very strong, but don’t do it. If you ride very often, it is not a question of if you will kiss the pavement but when. If you are lucky it will be nothing worse than losing your balance while stopped at a red light, but you can’t count on it.

To give yourself the best chance of escaping injury when riding wear full safety gear, This means

  • Helmet
  • Eye protection
  • Long pants
  • Boots
  • Jacket

This may seem like a lot of gear in the Florida sun, but trust me, if you ever hit a humming bird at 60 mph you will understand the value of a good set of leathers.