Press Release - 05-10-2023

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
Wednesday, May 10, 2023  

GOVERNOR’S TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMITTEE WARNS OF RISE IN FATAL MOTORCYCLE CRASHES DURING MOTORCYCLE SAFETY AWARENESS MONTH 

Fatal Motorcycle Crashes in NY Increase by 52 Percent Since 2019 

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) is urging motorists to stay alert in an effort to quell the rise in motorcycle crashes and fatalities. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and GTSC is asking drivers to exercise safety when traveling New York’s roadways. According to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR) at the University at Albany's Rockefeller College, fatal motorcycle crashes were up 52 percent in 2021, with 201, compared to the 132 fatal crashes reported in 2019.

“The warmer spring weather means we’re welcoming more motorcyclists back to the roads. We want everyone to enjoy New York’s beautiful riding season, but to do so safely and responsibly,” said GTSC Chair and DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “Motorists and riders must share the road and be vigilant. The crash data we cite are not just numbers, they are your friends, family, and neighbors. Motorcycle safety has long been a priority for New York and by calling attention to this issue, we’re hoping to avoid another tragedy.” 

 New York was the first state to mandate wearing a motorcycle helmet, and for more than 20 years, New York has had a rider-funded motorcycle safety training and awareness program known as the New York State Motorcycle Safety Program (NYSMSP). The program uses a nationally recognized motorcycle training curriculum developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The courses teach effective turning, braking maneuvers, tips to avoid obstacles, strategies in traffic, how to select appropriate protective apparel and vehicle maintenance. Motorcyclists can find a training course near them by visiting https://nysmsp.org/

Here are some important motorcycle safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Protect your melon! Always wear a DOT-approved helmet and eye protection. "Novelty Helmets" are not approved and offer little protection to the rider in a crash. In fact, they are illegal to wear on New York roadways.
  • Always wear high quality riding gear designed to protect the rider during a fall. This includes over-the-ankle boots, full finger gloves with padding in addition to jackets and pants with armor protection at impact points.
  • Be conspicuous. Wear high visibility vests, garments with reflector features and accessories to boost your visibility to other drivers. 
  • Maintain your motorcycle properly. Ensure all of your lights and horn are working and both mirrors are adjusted. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have legal tread depth. Remember, motorcycles maintain a smaller tire contact patch on the roadway when compared to other vehicles. Good traction is a key component to safe handling and braking in normal and adverse situations.
  • Maintain a high level of awareness. Scan the roadway constantly for dangers and ride alert. If you are tired, take a break and re-energize to boost your concentration.
  • Drive sober. Never ride impaired by alcohol or drugs and discourage other riders from making a bad choice.
  • Turn left with caution. Most crashes between cars and motorcycles involve turning left. If you are preparing to cross traffic or turn left, take a second look to make sure it is safe to proceed.
  • SLOW DOWN! Speed is the number one cause of traffic crashes - PERIOD! Slow down, take your time and maintain control of the motorcycle.
  • Allow adequate space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Use the "two second" rule as a safety zone.
  • Observe and obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals.
  • Let other motorists know your intentions. Signal when you turn with your directional lights or hand signals. Also, flashing your brake light periodically before you stop will alert drivers behind you to be cautious!

Motorcycle Safety Foundation program manager Brandi Behling said, “It's spring and that means more motorcyclists on the road. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation would like to remind all motorists to watch for motorcyclists on the road and give them a little more space. We also want to remind riders to wear a DOT compliant helmet and other high-visibility gear, make sure their license is current, to ride sober, and to be a lifelong learner by taking refresher classes.” 

 About GTSC 

Combined with education and enforcement campaigns, GTSC coordinates various traffic safety activities throughout the year and supports ongoing initiatives to improve pedestrian, motorcycle, and bicycle safety. The GTSC also sponsors critical training for law enforcement, provides resources for teen drivers and their parents, and promotes seatbelt use statewide. 

For more information about GTSC, visit https://trafficsafety.ny.gov/, or follow the GTSC conversation at Facebook and Twitter.  

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