TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Temperatures are increasing and so are the number of commuters on Florida’s roadways – especially vulnerable road users. This month, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is teaming up with transportation and law enforcement organizations across the state to remind motorists of their responsibility to Share the Road properly with bicyclists, motorcyclists, commercial drivers, and all other road users in between, to keep our roads safe.
“On average last year, there were nearly 280 crashes per week involving a motorcycle or bicycle in Florida, which truly underscores the importance of staying vigilant for all road users,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes.“While their mode of transportation may differ from a typical vehicle, motorcyclists and bicyclists still have the right to share our roadways and the right to make it to their destination safely.”
Governor Ron DeSantis has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, recognizing the importance of reducing motorcycle fatalities in Florida. Motorcyclists and bicyclists are vulnerable road users that can be hard to see. By law, drivers must give bicyclists a minimum of three feet of clearance when driving alongside or passing them. Divers should never attempt to share the lane with a motorcycle – the motorcyclist is entitled to the entire lane. Preliminary in 2020, there were 8,583 motorcycle crashes and 6,013 bicycle crashes in Florida resulting in 2,687 serious bodily injuries and 668 fatalities.
“All Floridians have the responsibility to drive safely and share the road properly,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Please remember, this includes sharing the road with commercial motor vehicles like semitrucks and staying out of the ‘No Zone’ blind spots on CMVs.”
According to FLHSMV preliminary data, there were 36,784 crashes involving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) driver in 2020, resulting in 976 CMV driver serious bodily injuries, and 317 CMV driver fatalities. Large trucks do not maneuver like passenger vehicles. Drivers are reminded to stay out of the ‘No Zone,’ the blind spots in front, behind, and on both sides of commercial vehicles, and never tailgate. Always pass on the left for maximum visibility and watch for wide turns.
“Florida is home to one of the most robust transportation systems in the country, offering various modes to fit the lifestyles and needs of our residents and visitors,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “As we enter into the summer months, more people will be taking advantage of Florida’s beautiful weather to ride their bicycles and motorcycles. We encourage motorists to always be cautious when behind the wheel and respect their fellow transportation users. Safety is everyone’s job.”
“Trucks need approximately the length of two football fields to stop on the highway,” said President and CEO of Florida Trucking Association Ken Armstrong. “We encourage everyone to understand the ‘No-Zone,’ and keep a safe distance between you and other motorists when driving to ensure everyone gets home safely.”
“With our great weather, hundreds of miles of beaches, and theme parks Florida is a year-round tourist destination. As you travel on our roadways, remember to ‘share the road’ with motorcycles, bicycles, and commercial vehicles so everyone can arrive alive,” said Sheriff Bobby Schultz, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “On behalf of our Florida sheriffs, I fully endorse the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Share the Road campaign in May.”
“The Florida Police Chiefs Association urges everyone to remember that Florida’s roads are meant for all drivers to use and enjoy, and this includes bicyclists and motorcyclists,” said Satellite Beach Police Chief Jeff Pearson, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “Many law enforcement officers also ride bicycles and motorcycles in the course of their duties, so we know the dangers those riders can face. On behalf of more than 900 law enforcement executives around the state, we ask all motorists in Florida to help us make our roads as safe as possible and Share the Road!”
“Space means safety when you properly Share the Road,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Drive with care and consideration by giving all types of road users the room they need.”
For more information on the Share the Road campaign, including safety tips and resources, please visit the FLHSMV website. The public is encouraged to report dangerous and drunk drivers, motorcyclists, and bicyclists by dialing *FHP (*347) or 911.