Motorcycle Safety Tips for Riding in Miami & South Florida
Riding a motorcycle in Miami can sometimes be an intimidating experience. Motorcycle riders need to remain vigilant at all times during horrendous rush hour traffic at the Golden Glades interchange, I-395 towards Miami Beach, traveling north to Fort Lauderdale on I-95, or any of the busier boulevards like Miami Avenue, US1, and Biscayne Boulevard.
If you’ve already mastered riding a motorcycle, then it doesn’t hurt to review the below tips and strategies for ensuring your safety while riding your Harley-Davidson® throughout Miami and the South Florida metropolis. If you’re still considering learning how to ride and purchasing a Harley-Davidson®, check out our Riding Class Academy to learn the basics. Remember, being vigilant, safe, and skilled could help avoid any costly mistakes in the future.
1. Be Rested
Riding a motorcycle is obviously not like driving a car. On a motorcycle, you can’t rest your hand or arm on the center console and be fully shielded from the elements. That’s why it’s so important to be alert at all times. It may seem obvious but try to avoid riding your motorcycle if you’re tired or lethargic. Remember to take a break. Stretch your legs. Drink water. The monotony of long-haul motorcycle rides from Miami to Palm Beach, for example, can cause riders and drivers alike to experience the dreaded highway hypnosis. So, get some rest and clear your mind!
2. Be Mindful of the Weather
Safe roads help you to become a safe rider. We have all experienced sudden torrential downpours in South Florida, especially in the summertime. Luckily, we don’t deal with snow in Miami, but the rain is still something to be very cautious of. Remember to wear the proper attire, maintain reasonable speeds, and be mindful of surrounding drivers. If you need to stop during a rainstorm, remember that the mild inconvenience is much more preferable to an accident.
3. Wear the Proper Attire
And look cool doing it! At Peterson’s Harley-Davidson®, we have tons of motorcycle gear and clothing to choose from. Get yourself some sweet motorcycle boots that cover your ankles and jackets that protect your arms, chest, and back. If you want to be extra careful, try on some motorcycle riding jackets that have armor for added safety. Even if it’s 100 degrees outside in the dead of summer in Miami, sweating is a lot easier to bounce back from than potential road rash.
4. Wear a Helmet! We Repeat: Wear a Helmet
Roads in Miami aren’t always the smoothest. There’s constant construction, potholes, and other hazards that can pose significant safety risks. You should treat your motorcycle helmet like you do your keys. You can’t go anywhere without it. Most accidents actually occur at lower speeds, so even if you’re running to the store for a sandwich and don’t think you need to wear a helmet, please think again. Remember, the time you think you’re saving by hopping on without a helmet isn’t worth the risk. Lastly, if you’re pondering about wearing a closed-face helmet versus an open-face helmet, remember that almost 20% of impacts to a motorcycle helmet is the chin. So protect yourself!
5. Stay Off the Booze
…and anything else that can impair your judgment. This is another obvious tip, but something that all motorcycle riders should be mindful of. Meeting your friends at the bar to watch the football game? If you’re riding your motorcycle, don’t drink. It’s that simple. Even if you live close, you need to watch out for other drivers that don’t care about how safe you’re trying to be. A clear headed rider is a safe rider.
6. Pre-Ride Checklist
It takes less than five minutes to check your lights, including your turn signals and brake lights, tire pressure and fluids. Make sure your motorcycle is ready to go regardless of how far you’re riding. Hop on the bike and check that you’re comfortable. Does anything feel off or does the engine sound odd? Double check. Are the clutch and brake levers good? Double check. Remember that about 85% of your braking power comes from the front brake.
7. DEFENSE! DEFENSE!
It’s Miami. Have you seen some of the drivers on I-95? Sometimes, it’s just downright scary to be around some of them. Motorcycles are often very hard to see for other drivers and it’s easy for us riders to zip in and out from their blind spots. Drivers are often looking for other cars, not motorcycles. It’s a good start to be mindful of how other people are driving. Is a driver looking to switch lanes? Is he sort of bobbing in and out looking to change direction or speed? Are their brake lights flashing ahead of you down the road? Is there a car a little too close on your tail? A defensive rider is a skilled rider. They say defense wins games. It can also win the battle of navigating South Florida traffic.
If you’re looking for other tips or updates such as our Riding Class Academy, upcoming events, or new and pre-owned motorcycle inventory, check out the links below.