Tragedy struck last night when a young motorcyclist was killed on the interstate in Tampa. The man, only 18 years old, was on a ramp to I-4, one of Florida’s deadliest highways, from I-275. Florida Highway Patrol believe he hit his brakes, but he skidded into the guardrails on the ramp.
Riding a motorcycle on the highway comes with its own set of rules, just like with driving a car. However, when you’re on a bike, you don’t have as much protection as a car provides. You will want to be extra careful when traveling at high speeds alongside other vehicles that may not see you. Keep reading for our interstate driving tips to know before you hit the road again.
Entering the Highway
Merging onto a busy interstate can be nerve-wracking in a car, let alone on a motorcycle. The first thing you want to do is try to accelerate enough to match the speed of the cars already on the highway. Merge as soon as you can. You should check your mirrors, but don’t forget to turn around and check for openings as well. Even on a motorcycle, you have blind spots. This small glance could save your life.
When you merge, be sure to use your turn signals on your motorcycle. This keeps other drivers aware of what you’re doing, and it’s also the law! The last thing you want to be on a highway is unpredictable. If you don’t use your turn signal, try to use the motorcyclist hand signals instead to alert other drivers to your maneuvers.
On the Highway
Once you’ve safely made your way onto the interstate, you have to decide which lane to ride in. Thankfully, there are some guidelines to follow. The left lane is the passing lane, so use this one when you’re maneuvering around slower vehicles. Try to get around them as fast as possible when passing so you’re not in their blind spot.
The middle lane can be the most dangerous option. You may not be able to see debris or stopped vehicles ahead of you from this lane. It may be difficult to get around them quickly if you’re surrounded by other cars. If you ride in the middle lane, stay attentive and keep a large distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
The right lane is for slower traffic, so if a car tailgates you in the left or middle lane, keep to the right instead. Then you can use those left lanes for passing.
When you’re in a lane, it’s best to stay to the left or right side of it instead of the center. You know how you can see tracks in the asphalt from car tires? That’s the safest place to drive to avoid debris and spills in the road. You’ll also be able to see around the cars in front of you better and stay visible to drivers beside you.
If you’re riding with other bikers, it’s perfectly fine to ride side-by-side with one other rider, also known as “lane sharing.” Just make sure you’re communicating with each other to avoid any accidents. However, “lane splitting,” where you pass a car in the same lane they’re in, is illegal in Florida. This also applies to passing between vehicles. Don’t try it.
Exiting the Highway
It’s important to know when you need to exit the highway. Remember what we said about not being unpredictable? That applies to exiting too. You don’t want to be caught in the left lane when your exit is just up ahead. Many don’t realize they need to be in the right lane, so they’ll speed and weave through traffic to make it over in time. Stay aware of your route and be prepared.
Once you exit, slow down on an off ramp. You may want to keep your high speed, but you need to be ready for curved ramps and upcoming stoplights. Slowing down helps you see what’s up ahead on your course and keeps you safe.
The most important thing to remember when riding your motorcycle on a highway is to stay focused and alert. Don’t forget the basic road rules, stay visible to others, and be predictable. Hopefully you can avoid tragedies like the one in Tampa yesterday if you follow these rules.
If you or a loved one are in a motorcycle accident, please contact us today. We are passionate about helping the motorcycle community, and our team of experienced lawyers will fight for your rights. Call us now at 1-800-LAW-3030 for your free video consultation, and ride safely out there!