Aggressive driving puts the lives of everyone on the road in jeopardy. When people lose their temper behind the wheel, they’re likely to make hasty and irrational decisions. These decisions result in hundreds of fatalities each year on U.S. highways. Just as Florida motorists drive aggressively at times, motorcyclists may do as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as the following:
“When individuals commit a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.”
Once a driver commits two or more moving traffic offenses, Florida considers them to be an aggressive driver. Examples of moving violations include:
- Excessive speeding;
- Unsafe lane changing;
- Tailgating or following another driver too closely;
- Passing other vehicles improperly;
- Disregarding traffic control devices, like stop signs and traffic signals.
When motorists drive this way, it’s dangerous. When motorcyclists drive this way, it can be life-threatening.
What are Moving Traffic Offenses for Motorcyclists in Florida?
Moving traffic offenses occur when a driver does not follow traffic laws while in their vehicle. Examples of moving violations include speeding over the posted limit, disregarding traffic lights, failing to use your turning signal, tailgating, and texting while driving. Many of these moving violations apply to both motorcyclists and motor vehicle drivers alike.
A moving traffic offense that applies to motorcyclists only is lane splitting. Lane splitting is the practice of occupying the space in between cars in lanes to pass traffic. While countries like France and the Netherlands allow lane splitting, it’s strictly prohibited in Florida and most of the United States, except California. When you see motorcyclists lane splitting, it’s often to escape congested traffic. Stop and go traffic can be dangerous for motorcyclists when vehicle drivers aren’t paying attention, making motorcycle riders more vulnerable. One reason that lane splitting is illegal in Florida is that other drivers on the road might expect to see the motorcyclist splitting the lanes. Thus, if the motorists attempt to make a quick lane change and do not see the motorcycle, they can crash into the bike.
It is also illegal in Florida for more than two motorcyclists to ride side-by-side in the same lane. When two bikers are riding next to each other in the same lane, it increases the visibility of both bikers and makes it easier to communicate. When three or more are riding in the same lane next to each other, it becomes too cramped and dangerous. Therefore, Florida restricts the number to two bikers side by side.
Penalty for Aggressive Motorcycle Driving in Florida?
Motorcyclists who weave in and out of congested traffic (lane splitting) often are not pursued by law enforcement in efforts to keep other drivers on the road safe. Nonetheless, motorcyclists and drivers alike who are stopped and charged with aggressive driving can face a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, with penalties up to $1,000 and jail time up to six months.
Losing control of your motorcycle from speeding, disregarding traffic lights, tailgating, and failing to use proper turn signals can result in the most significant penalty of all for motorcyclists – the potential to be killed in a crash. The dangers of aggressive road behaviors become exponentially more dangerous for motorcyclists than it is for vehicle drivers due to the limited protection between bikers and the pavement.
Skilled Motorcycle Attorney in St. Petersburg Can Help
Before anyone rides a motorcycle, it’s essential that he or she is in the right frame of mind to do so. Being relaxed and taking it easy will give you the highest chance of arriving at your destination safely. Aggressive motorcycle driving can be devastating for both the rider and others on the road.
If you or a loved one has suffered from someone else’s aggressive driving behaviors in Florida, Attorney Frank P. Marsalisi of Marsalisi Law can help. As a personal injury attorney who specializes in motorcycle accidents, you can trust that Frank will fight vigorously for your rights and see that you’re compensated for your personal and monetary losses. Call (727) 800-5052 or complete our online contact form for a free consultation.
Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal.