Ride Smart Florida
Ride Smart Florida is the communication and outreach extension of the Florida Motorcycle Safety Coalition, a group of safety partners from around the state who share the common goal of reducing fatalities of motorcycle riders and their passengers. Ride Smart Florida uses data-driven research to develop, implement and evaluate counter measures and works with safety partners around the state to reduce fatalities and serious injuries to motorcycle riders and their passengers.
The Florida Motorcycle Safety Coalition assists the state of Florida Motorcycle Safety Program with implementing the Motorcycle Safety Strategic Plan (MSSP) goals and strategies. The Program is funded primarily by Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (Pub. L. No. 114-94) funds that support highway safety programs. The Coalition is led by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), with administrative assistance from the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida.
Ride Smart Florida is a complete resource for motorcyclists on education and training, safety strategies, motorcycle data, and more. It also provides help and support to local communities and motorcycle clubs with access to public service announcements (PSAs), motorcycle-related statistics, rider education information, and links to other websites related to motorcycle safety.
Motorcycle crashes frequently involve a combination of high-risk behaviors by motorcyclists or motorists. These behaviors include riding or driving without a valid license or endorsement or while under the influence of alcohol, deciding not to use a safety device such as a helmet or safety belt, or speeding.
Unfortunately, these factors frequently occur in combination with one another.
There is a common belief throughout the motorcycle community that motorcycle crashes are caused by careless motorists who either drive while texting or simply do not pay attention to the road. Considering only multi-vehicle crashes that involve motorcycles and other vehicles, motorists are at fault in 60% of crashes; however, when evaluating all crashes (multi-vehicle and single-vehicle), research indicates that motorcyclists are at fault 62% of the time.
There are inherent risks when riding a motorcycle, and motorcyclists accept these risks when riding. Motorcyclists also have a duty to exercise good judgment and ride responsibly. Motorcyclists who manage risk well are those who have the knowledge, skills, attitude, values, and habits to be responsible riders.
Rider Risk Factors
Ride Smart Florida reminds motorcyclists that the road is not a racetrack. On a motorcycle, performance is what it’s all about, but almost one quarter of all motorcycle fatalities in Florida involve speeding. Give yourself time to react to whatever comes your way.
• Speed matters – your decision to speed could be the difference between life and death. Riding the speed limit may allow other drivers to gauge your speed and distance properly. Give them a chance to see you—give yourself a chance to ride another day.
The fine for exceeding the speed limit by more than 50 mph is $1,000 for the first offense and $2,500 for the second. In addition, a second offense will result in a one-year driver license suspension. Slow down—it will help you save your life and other’s lives.
• Racetracks are designed for races and for crashes. Public streets are not designed for speed … there are obstacles such as cars, trees, barriers, curbs and more. Even pros can mess up on the track—that’s why areas around the track are cleared. On the road are so many obstacles to hit. The road is not your racetrack.
• Stopping Distance – speed is a critical factor in all road crashes and fatalities. Riding a motorcycle is unpredictable, and if something unexpected happens on the road ahead, it’s your speed that will determine whether you can stop in time. Become aware of the distances needed to brake at certain speeds.
Florida has experienced a sharp increase in motorcycle fatalities in the early 2000’s. The number of motorcycle crashes and injuries nearly doubled between 2000 and 2008.
A significant reduction was achieved in 2009 and 2010.
Motorcycle fatalities have slowly increased during 2011-2013, but it looked to stay around 460. However, motorcycle fatalities in 2015 jumped to 584 which was the highest in the past 15 years.
SMART Motorcycle Safety Courses: Osceola, Gainesville and Tallahassee:
The goal of SMART Courses are to help students demonstrate safe motorcycle riding techniques by negotiating commonly found street riding situations in a controlled and skill oriented manner. SMART Courses are fun and very informative, and are offered in Osceola, Gainesville and Tallahassee. They challenge you where they know they can and help you where they see it’s needed. Check area locations on the website for the schedule of classes and for more information.
To be a safe rider, get to know your 3WMC extremely well. A good way to do this would be to take a 3-Wheel BRC course. The 3WBRC or 3-Wheel Basic Rider Course is for a three wheel, two track vehicle only, and is for endorsement (“S” Restriction will be reflected on the license). It’s true, three-wheels are very different from a car and demands more from the operator. For instance, starting off and changing gears requires coordination of the clutch lever, throttle and gearshift lever. A 3-Wheel BRC course will prepare you to ride safe and ride smart. The best way to be prepared for the road is to get proper training and get endorsed.
Operating a scooter on public streets and highways is a privilege, not a right. Although scooters under 50 CC do not require an endorsement to ride, riders are still vulnerable on the road. While scooters are fun, it is important to get training and gear up. Be sure to get training and get licensed! A good way to do this is by taking the Basic RiderCourse (BRC). Even though scooter and moped riders with an engine under 50cc are not required to participate in the BRC, scooter riders should take safe riding seriously. Many scooter riders can benefit from taking the BRC, which prepares riders for strategies and skills necessary to interact with other drivers on public streets. The BRC curriculum addresses curves, intersections, and other road hazards you will encounter while riding.
Make Yourself More Noticeable:
Sometimes it’s good to be noticed, particularly if you are riding a motorcycle. Too often, motorists pull out in front of motorcycles, usually to make a left turn, and cause deadly crashes, just because they don’t see them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 40 percent of two-vehicle crashes involving motorcycles occur when a vehicle turns left while the motorcycle is going straight, passing, or overtaking the vehicle.
Keeping the roadway safe for all users is the responsibility of both motorists and motorcyclists— everyone can do their part. Motorcyclists should make sure they can be seen in a crowd, because riders who are visible or “conspicuous” are less likely to have their right-of-way violated.