TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) – Florida leads the nation in motorcycle crash fatalities according to statistics released by AAA. Motorcycle fatalities rose thirty percent between 2104 and 2015, with 606 motorcycle crash deaths in 2015.

Hillsborough County ranked second in the state for motorcycle crash deaths behind Miami-Dade County. Pinellas County ranked fifth.

According to AAA, most motorcyclists think there should be a law requiring riders wear a helmet when riding, and there was a bill introduced in December that would put that law on the books in Florida.

AAA says the majority of motorcyclists (83%) claim to wear a helmet, yet according to an observable helmet report only 47% of Florida motorcyclists were seen wearing a helmet when riding.

AAA encourages drivers and motorcyclists not to drive impaired and to follow these safety tips:

Safety Tips for Motorists:

  • Respect motorcycle riders. Motorcycles are vehicles too and have the same privileges as an automobile. Be sure to give them ample room.
  • Look and Listen. Even if a motorcycle is loud, you may not hear it. Actively look for motorcycles in traffic.
  • Leave room. Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and motorcyclists. Uneven terrain, wet roads, and heavy traffic often require a motorcycle rider to react and maneuver differently than automobiles.
  • Be aware. Take extra caution when making a left-hand turn, because most automobile-versus-motorcycle crashes occur during left-hand turns.
  • Don't drive distracted. A driver who takes their eyes off the road for two seconds doubles their risk of getting into a crash.

Safety Tips for Motorcyclists:

  • Wear safety gear. Helmets that meet DOT compliance standards, eye wear, closed-toe footwear and protective clothing reduce your risk of injury or death in a crash. Remember, the only thing between you and the ground is your protective gear.
  • Be visible. Keep headlights, marker and taillights on at dusk and dark, or rainy weather. Wear bright clothing or put reflective strips on your bike to be more visible to other motorists. Avoid being in the blind spots of cars and trucks by following three to four seconds behind the vehicle in front of you.
  • Use sound judgment. Avoid weaving between lanes while riding. Be sure to use your signals and stick to the speed limit.
  • Get proper training. Completing a motorcycle safety course can not only make you a better rider, but save you money on your motorcycle insurance.