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Making motorcycles safer for teens

For Florida teens who are newly licensed motorcyclists, the excitement of riding a bike could quickly turn sour if safety isn't top priority. Riding a motorcycle carries a higher risk of fatal injury than driving a car, and teens tend to choose more dangerous bikes and have more accidents than older motorcyclists. That is why younger riders especially need to be aware of motorcycle safety tips before they hit the road.

Florida residents are required to take safety training courses before they can be licensed to operate a motorcycle. However, not all states have this requirement. Safety training courses make a great deal of difference, judging by the statistics. More than 90 percent of cyclists involved in crashes didn't have formal motorcycle safety training.

Wearing a helmet is an option for cyclists, and Florida riders under the age of 21 are required by law to wear one. But a helmet that doesn't fit correctly does not offer proper protection. In addition to proper fit, it is recommended that cyclists choose helmets that are approved by the Department of Transportation.

Taking friends for a ride is another teen biker habit that can be dangerous. Having a passenger makes operating a motorcycle more difficult and can cause distraction. Newer cyclists especially are recommended to ride alone.

When motorcycle accidents involve cars, the cyclist often suffers the most severe injuries. Blind-spot accidents involving motorcycles are common because drivers often miss motorcycles due to their smaller size. Some drivers may have a knee-jerk reaction to assume the motorcyclist is at fault in any accident, but motorcyclists have the same legal rights as any other driver. Anyone who is injured in a vehicle accident that was caused by someone else's negligence has the right to seek compensation.

SOURCE: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 2018

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