Press Release - 05-09-2012

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Safety Stressed For Motorcyclists As Summer Months Approach

There are more than 655,000 licensed motorcyclists and more than 340,000 registered motorcycles in New York State. In the past ten years alone, motorcycle licenses have increased by 28 percent and registrations by 76 percent. Today, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Chair Barbara J. Fiala reminded motorists to watch for motorcyclists and stressed the importance of motorcycle safety as more bikes take to the roads as summer begins.

"With the summer months approaching we will be seeing more motorcycles take to our roadways," said Commissioner Fiala. "We want to make sure motorcyclists are using proper safety precautions and remind motorists to watch for them and share the road."

In 2010, there were more than 5,500 motorcycle crashes in New York State, resulting in more than 5,400 injuries and 185 fatalities. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research shows that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 39 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in traffic crashes.

"We build our highways and bridges to be as safe as possible for motorcyclists by providing good site distance at intersections and by using skid-resistant pavement and durable, long-lasting pavement markings," said New York State Department of Transportation Executive Deputy Commissioner Stanley Gee. "Motorists must do their part too by not tailgating and by watching for motorcyclists before changing lanes so that everyone can travel safely on New York State highways."

"With the onset of warmer weather, motorcycle operators will once again populate New York's roadways and our agency will work to improve highway safety through education and active enforcement," said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico. "We remind motorcyclists to use designated lanes and proper motorcycle safety equipment, including federally approved helmets. Equally, we remind all motorists to obey speed limits, don't operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and keep your focus on the road by eliminating distracted driving behaviors."

"The Motorcycle Museum in Newburgh is not only a collection of antique and historic motorcycles, but is also home to memorabilia that demonstrates the impact motorcycles have on our culture and society," said Museum board member Peter Miller. "In addition, we also offer rider training and an ongoing speaker series on motorcycle safety. We want the public to enjoy the pastime of motorcycling while also appreciating the value of being properly trained."

"The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers training courses to match a variety of skill levels and rider experience," said Program Manager Ben Zadrozny. "Whether you are new to motorcycling or have been riding for years, training is an essential part of being safe on the road. Completing a Basic RiderCourse will give you the satisfaction of knowing you have gone the extra mile to develop your own safe riding techniques."

New motorcycle licenses for March 2012 were up 53 percent from March 2011. Registrations were up eight percent and license renewals were up six percent in March 2012 versus March 2011.

The following are some tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways.

  • Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width-never try to share a lane.
  • Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Allow more following distance - three or four seconds - when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
  • Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
  • Never drive while distracted.

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by:

  • Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions;
  • Wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-compliant helmet;
  • Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it;
  • Combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves;
  • Using reflective tape and stickers to increase conspicuity;
  • Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers; and
  • Never driving while impaired.

More information can be found by visiting the DMV's web site at or the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee web site at


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