Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month: Here are 9 tips for motorcyclists, bicyclists

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles wants to remind drivers to share the road.

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The agency is launching its annual “Share the Road” campaign, alongside the Florida Highway Patrol.

May marks Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month.

“Temperatures are increasing and so are the number of commuters on Florida roadways — especially vulnerable road users. On average last year, there were nearly 290 crashes per week involving a motorcycle or bicycle in Florida,” said FLHSMV 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 make an effort to look out for one another.”

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In 2021, there were 6,392 bicycle crashes and 182 bicycle fatalities in Florida — up from 158 bicycle fatalities in 2020.

Officials said drivers should never try to share a lane with a motorcycle.

Last year, there were 8,625 motorcycle crashes and 583 motorcycle fatalities across the state — up from 510 motorcycle fatalities in 2020.

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“Motorists are reminded to stay alert and aware of their surroundings on the roadway and watch out for motorcycles and bicycles,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Florida’s vulnerable road users need your help to ensure they arrive to their destinations safely.”

Here are nine tips for motorcyclists and bicyclists, according to FLHSMV:

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  1. Drivers must give bicyclists a minimum of 3-feet of clearance when driving alongside or passing them. It’s the law.
  2. When turning, yield to any bicyclist in the bike lane and make your turn behind the cyclist.
  3. Avoid using high beam headlights when you see a bicyclist approaching.
  4. Before opening a car door, check for bicyclists who may be approaching from behind.
  5. Never attempt to share the lane with a motorcycle. The motorcyclist is entitled to the entire lane.
  6. Watch for motorcycles and look carefully before pulling into an intersection or changing lanes.
  7. Never pass a motorcyclist with only a few feet of space. The force of the wind gust can cause the rider to lose control.
  8. Do not follow too closely behind a motorcycle: motorcycles have the ability to stop more quickly than other vehicles.
  9. When being passed by a motorcycle, maintain your lane position and do not increase your speed.

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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.