The recent death of a young biker on I-95 underscores the need for motorcyclists to maintain a safe following distance while traveling on Florida’s roads and highways. Joshua Wilson Pinilla, of Hollywood, was killed on May 5 when his bike was involved in a wreck.
The 20-year-old was heading southbound near a highway exit when his Kawasaki struck a Chrysler automobile. The impact sent him flying off of his motorcycle and onto the roadway, where he was run over by a passing tractor-trailer truck. Pinilla was reportedly wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
While the cause of the accident has not been established, other bikers can still learn from it. This crash involved a motorcycle striking the back of a car, and while this particular accident may have been unavoidable, other riders should follow the suggestions of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles regarding safe following distances. In their Florida Motorcycle Handbook, the department recommends staying two seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. This means that you should alter your following distance so that you pass any particular road marking or sign about two seconds after the vehicle in front of you passes that landmark.
This two-second space is only a minimum, however, and should be increased when conditions warrant. When a road is wet or traffic is heavy, a gap of three seconds or longer is optimal. Another important factor to consider when following a vehicle is visibility. Because car drivers are more likely to check their rear-view mirror than their side-view mirrors, staying in the center of a lane can keep you safely in a driver’s view.
If you have been involved in an accident involving a motorcycle or any other vehicle, you may be entitled to recover compensation under Florida law. To learn more about your options, speak with the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at the Bradenton law firm of Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh.