A Legislative Column by Assemblyman Will Barclay
There are a number of local residents who display the signs on their property that read “Look Twice, Save a Life.”
It’s a campaign that started many years ago designed to help protect motorcyclists.
It was created by the parents of a 25-year-old man who lost his life while driving a motorcycle in a head-on collision with another vehicle.
The driver in the other vehicle failed to see him.
The “Look Twice, Save a Life” is effective.
Awareness and education is always needed, as new drivers are always taking to the roads.
Statistics show that motorcyclists continue to be at risk.
Failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is a leading cause of accidents.
In 2013, according to the State Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 4,772 police reported accidents involving motorcycles; 171 were fatalities, of which 157 were motorcycle operators.
I sponsor a bill in the Assembly (A6845) that, if enacted, would require new drivers to be educated on sharing the road as part of the five-hour pre-licensing course.
Though many teachers include this as part of their instruction, requiring it would ensure that all teachers address motorcycle safety.
The bill, if passed, would also require those taking their driver’s license test to answer questions pertaining to motorcyclists in the written portion of the exam.
This type of education has the potential to save lives and costs the state almost nothing.
Local motorcycle groups are committed to raising awareness too, and remind drivers about road safety through organizations such as ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education).
This group recently held its annual Freedom Ride in Albany in May.
Here are some safety tips the State Department of Motor Vehicles reminds car and truck drivers of when sharing the road with motorcyclists:
· A motorcyclist has the right to the full use of a lane, and motorcyclists are allowed to ride two abreast in a single lane.
· An experienced motorcyclist will often change position within a lane to get a clearer view of traffic, avoid hazards and be more visible to drivers.
· You may not pass or drive alongside a motorcycle in the same lane, and a motorcyclist may not share a lane with you.
· Take care when passing a motorcyclist. Like bicycles, motorcycles can be affected by the air pressure of passing vehicles.
· Because motorcyclists must take extra precautions when they come upon special highway surfaces, you should be aware of what a motorcyclist may do in certain situations.
· The motorcyclist may quickly change speed or lane position to avoid loose gravel, debris, seams or grooves in the pavement, sewer or access covers, or small animals.
· On bridges with metal grates (often marked STEEL DECK BRIDGE), the motorcyclist may move to the center of the lane to compensate for the uneven surface. Stay well behind a motorcyclist in this situation.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.
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