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Florida Driver Handbook: Motorcycle Awareness

Study for your upcoming driver's license test or learner's permit exam with the Florida Driver Handbook.

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Florida Driver Handbook: Motorcycle Awareness

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Table of Contents

6. Sharing the Road

As of July 1, 2010, there were 1,009,803 motorcycle endorsements in the State of Florida. That is over a million bikes on the road! Please take a second to "look twice ... save a life."

6.3.1 - Sharing the Road with a Motorcycle

  • Watch for motorcycles and yield the right-of-way.
  • Look at least three times before pulling into an intersection or changing lanes and be aware that even the smallest of visual impairments can hide a motorcycle from view.
  • When following a motorcycle, remember that motorcycles have the ability of stopping much more quickly than other vehicles. Following too closely endangers your life and that of the motorcyclist.
  • Never attempt to share the lane with a motorcycle. The motorcyclist needs the room to maneuver safely and is entitled to the entire lane.
  • Never pass a motorcyclist with only a few feet of space. The force of the buffeted wind can cause the rider to lose control. Motorcyclists may also choose to ride near one side of a lane to maximize the view ahead.
  • When your vehicle is being passed by a motorcycle, maintain your lane position and speed. Allow the motorcycle to complete the maneuver and assume proper lane position.
  • It is especially difficult to gauge the speed of a motorcycle because they take up less of your field of vision, making depth perception more difficult. They may appear to be much farther away than they really are. Be sure of their distance when making a maneuver in front of a motorcycle.
  • Motorcyclists often slow down by downshifting or rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.
  • Maintain a four second buffer zone between you and a motorcyclist, more in bad weather.
  • In traffic, especially in inclement weather or under certain road conditions, motorcycles operate differently than other vehicles. Wind gusts can move a motorcycle across an entire lane. Wet or icy roads impair a motorcyclist's ability to brake and maneuver. Potholes or railroad tracks often require motorcyclists to change positions within their lane. Gravel roads decrease traction and may cause a rider to slow down or brake where a car would not. Give the motorcycle extra space when encountering these conditions.

Additional information on motorcycle safety is located on the DHSMV website:

Florida Rider Training Program (FRTP)

Florida Motorcycle Handbook