Motorcycle Endorsements

Motorcycle fatalities in Florida have surged 57 percent in the past two years. Law officers and crash investigators from all over the state are meeting in Tallahassee Friday to try to figure out how to curb that deadly trend.

A motorcyclist is struck and killed on Capital Circle in May of 2002. It wasn’t his fault, but while investigating crashes like this, TPD traffic homicide investigator Mike Walker has noticed a disturbing trend.

“I started checking into the crash record, and found from January 1990 to February 2002 of the 13 people killed, only two had motorcycle endorsements,” comments Walker.

Motorcycle endorsements are required by law, above and beyond a regular driver’s license, it’s also proof that the driver has passed a written test and a skills test on his or her bike.

Jason Vaughn has been riding motorcycles for years, and now works in the cycle shop. He knows all too well the rules on endorsements.

“I wasn’t aware that you needed an endorsement until I crashed my bike and the officer let me know it was required. So, I went and took the class,” says Vaughn.

Vaughn says when customers buy bikes, he advises them of the endorsement law, but whether they follow through is anyone’s guess. The committee trying to cut down on motorcycle fatalities may consider airing Public Service Announcements about the endorsements. And, it may push to update Driver Education handbooks to include more information motorcycles.