Now that Spring is finally here, Floridians are enthusiastically packing hooded sweatshirts and long-sleeved T-shirts into the farthest reaches of their closets. The warmer temperatures and sunny skies that we love so well are here to stay, and there’s no better time to enjoy the outdoors!

Motorcyclists, in particular, are jumping at the chance to rev up and ride. The longer daylight hours and clear skies make for ideal riding conditions, and bikers throughout the state are itching to end their brief winter hibernation and hit the open road.

Unfortunately, enjoying the thrill of the road is not without risk. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, recent figures indicate that for every mile traveled, motorcycle riders are 30 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those driving a car, and 5 times more likely to be injured.

This sobering statistic is sadly illustrated by current local events. Bay News 9 reports that while traveling with a group of motorcyclists, Christopher Bowmer, 23, of Lakeland and Johnathan Walker, 25, of Plant City were both killed after their bikes collided. Both men were wearing helmets but tragically were declared dead at the scene. The incident is currently pending investigation, but Polk County Sheriff’s deputies have advised that excessive speed and moving violations are potential factors in the case.

While reports of traffic fatalities are always devastating, they serve as a meaningful reminder that safety should always be our top priority on the road, especially on a motorcycle. Before you hit the highway this season, make sure you take the proper precautions:

  • Inspect your motorcycle before each ride to ensure that it meets all basic safety requirements. This is especially important if your bike has been collecting dust in the garage during the colder months.
  • Wear the right gear. Proper riding attire should be heavy enough to protect, and bright enough to be highly visible to other drivers. Reflective materials can help you stand out and stay visible. Don’t forget your helmet!
  • Plan your trip in advance. Always coordinate your route when riding with a group.
  • Stay alert! Fatigue can impair a motorcyclist’s ability to react.
  • Street racing is illegal and dangerous. Avoid aggressive driving, and always follow the posted speed limit.
  • Know the rules of the road and obey them.
  • NEVER drink and drive!

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.