Press Release - 05-09-2013

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Motorcycle Safety, Road Sharing Stressed As Summer Approaches

With the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh as a backdrop, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Chair Barbara J. Fiala reminded motorists today to watch for motorcyclists and stressed the importance of motorcycle safety as more bikes appear on the roads with the onset of summer.

"May is Motorcycle Safety and Awareness month," said Commissioner Fiala. "We want to stress the word 'awareness' as motorcyclists are 39 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We urge motorists to watch for motorcyclists and safely share the road with them."

There are more than 675,000 licensed motorcyclists and nearly 346,000 registered motorcycles in New York State. In the past decade, motorcycle licenses have increased by almost 30 percent and registrations by 76 percent.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said, "We strive to keep highways and bridges safe for motorcyclists by providing adequate sight distance at intersections and using skid-resistant pavement when doing construction projects, and Governor Andrew Cuomo's additional funding for transportation projects has helped us do that. But we cannot do it alone; it is critical that drivers be extra vigilant in watching for motorcyclists, change lanes safely, and leave enough space between themselves and riders so that everyone can use our roads safely."

State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico said, "As the weather gets warmer, motorcyclists will be out on New York roadways once again. The New York State Police remind drivers who haven't seen motorcycles for several months to look twice before changing lanes or pulling out into traffic. We also want to remind motorcycle operators to use proper safety equipment. All drivers and operators should obey New York vehicle and traffic laws and not operate under the influence. Those out on the roads can be assured the New York State Police will continue our commitment to improving highway safety through education and active enforcement."

"Motorcycles have had a major impact on our culture and society," said Motorcyclepedia Museum board member Peter Miller. "The museum here in Newburgh is the home to memorabilia that demonstrates that impact. In addition to our collection of some 400 motorcycles, 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 is a "Fast Track" to obtaining a motorcycle license. It will give you the satisfaction of knowing you have gone the extra mile to develop your own safe riding techniques."

In 2011, there were more than 5,300 motorcycle crashes in New York State, resulting in more than 4,500 injuries and 168 fatalities.

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, the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Web site at, or the New York State Motorcycle Safety Program Web site at


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