9 tips for staying safe on a motorcycle

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Here are some safety tips for motorcyclists. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, designed to encourage all drivers and motorcyclists to share the road with each other. Increased awareness of motorcycle safety has helped improve the number of injuries and fatalities of motorcyclists. In 2014, 4,586 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes, a decrease of 2.3% from 4,692 in 2013. Those deaths account for 14% of the total highway fatalities that year. This decrease in motorcycle fatalities continues to break a tragic trend over the last 17 years, which saw only one other decline in 2009. Injured motorcyclists also decreased from 93,000 in 2013 to 88,000 in 2014. Safe riding practices and cooperation from all road users will help continue to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on U.S. highways, but it is especially important for motorists to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists (such as size and visibility) and motorcycle riding practices like downshifting and weaving to know how to anticipate and respond to them. By raising motorists’ awareness, both drivers and riders will be safer sharing the road. Share the following safety tips from Geico with your customers to help ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time this motorcycle season: Always wear a helmet A motorcycle helmet is a rider’s best friend and the most important piece of safety equipment to protect against a critical head injury. In many states, it is also the law. Make sure your helmet is Department of Transportation-approved, and includes a face shield or protective eyewear to help reduce wind noise and deflect debris that flies through the air. Wear protective clothing Leather goes a long way to help protect motorcycle riders in case of an accident. Leather jackets, gloves, pants and boots offer good protection from road scrapes and minimizes severe injuries. Reflective clothing will also make it easier for other drivers to see you, especially at night. Take a motorcycle safety course Hone and sharpen your riding skills with a formal motorcycle safety course. Courses such as the MSF Basic riding course is one of the best ways to learn the basics of operating a motorcycle and making wise judgments when riding. Some insurance companies offer participants a discount for completion of a course. Check your bike Proper motorcycle maintenance is just as important as practicing safe riding. Inspect the tires for air and make sure the lights are in good working condition. Also periodically check and test the clutch and throttle, brake fluid, controls and adjust the mirrors. Follow the rules of the road Speed limits and local traffic laws are there to keep riders safe at all times. Remember to obey the rules of the road and always pass vehicles on the passing lane. Give yourself enough time to brake. Ride defensively Many motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver violating a rider’s right of way. Ride with your headlights on at all times and signal well in advance of any change in direction. Always watch for turning vehicles and be extra careful in inclement weather. Stay out of blind spots It’s difficult for drivers to see a motorcycle so riding in a vehicle’s blind spot is a dangerous proposition. Position your motorcycle in the lane behind a car so that you can be seen at all times. Watch for road hazards Potholes, train tracks, oil slicks and roadway debris can cause problems for the most experienced rider. Stay alert and avoid possible road hazards.

About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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