May Is Motorcycle Safety Month

By Senator Patty Ritchie
Now that spring is here and the weather has turned warmer, it doesn’t get much better than going for a drive on a sunny day.  These days, more and more people are choosing to hit the road on motorcycles.

In Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, the number of registered motorcycles increased 16 percent from 2007 to 2010, to 13,500 on the road.  Jefferson County saw the largest percentage increase during that time period (27 percent), while Oswego had the highest number of registered bikes (5,017).

With more bikes, come more chances for accidents.  According to the most recent data from the New York State DMV, there were 152 fatalities from 5,150 motorcycle accidents in 2009.

In Oswego County alone, there have been four fatal motorcycle accidents so far this year.  That’s more than any full year since 2008.

In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, DMV officials in New York state—along with law enforcement officials and motorcycle groups—are urging motorcyclists and other drivers to be more cautious on the roads.

And I’m doing my part too.  I recently introduced a bill that would improve motorcycle safety by including awareness training in the DMV’s mandatory, pre-licensing courses.

The bill—which has received support from motorcycle groups and enthusiasts in New York state—amends Vehicle and Traffic Law to create a motorcycle safety and awareness component to the required five-hour driving courses.

New drivers are already required to complete training for work zone safety and road rage.  It just makes sense to include motorcycle safety training for new drivers.

As we gear up for summer—and the many motorcycle rallies, runs and other events that will take place across the state—it’s important to know how to safely share the road, whether you’re riding on two wheels or four.