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NY seeing increase in motorcycle fatalities this year

Posted 5 September 2020 at 9:04 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

The following chart shows fatalities from motorcycle-involved crashes reported to ITSMR for 2019 and 2020.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo warned of a spike in motorcycle fatalities as reported by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and urged drivers and motorcyclists to use caution as the busy holiday travel begins.

According to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College, preliminary data shows that as of August 15, 2020, deaths from motorcycle crashes are up more than 17 percent compared to the same period in 2019, up from 73 to 86.

“Danger does not take a holiday and with increased traffic on the road this Labor Day weekend, we all have a responsibility to exercise good judgment and caution,” Cuomo said. “New York State will continue to crack down on dangerous driving behavior because the safety of all drivers and passengers will always be a top priority for us.”

To improve safety on the roads this holiday, the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” impaired driving enforcement crackdown will continue through Labor Day. In addition, drivers are encouraged to make sure their vehicles are in good working condition and inspections are up to date before they travel.

Inspection stations are open and must follow health and safety guidelines. Motorists should also check things like fluids, tire pressure, battery life, and windshield wipers. Drivers can also use the DMV website to check if their vehicle has a recall.

“The motorcycle riding season is winding down and with nice weather predicted for this long holiday weekend, we expect more traffic and more riders on the roads, so I am urging everyone to be responsible, pay attention, and slow down,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. “We all play a part in keeping one another safe on our roads and it is up to every driver and rider to stop this alarming trend in motorcycle fatalities from continuing.”

There are more than 800,000 licensed motorcyclists in New York State. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than people in passenger cars. NHTSA also reports that despite representing only 3-percent of all registered motor vehicles, motorcyclists account for 14-percent of all traffic-related fatalities nationwide.

Safety Tips for Motorcyclists:

  • Drive sober! Never ride impaired by alcohol or drugs and discourage other riders from making a bad choice.
  • Slow down! Speed is a top cause of traffic crashes.
  • Use caution. Allow adequate space between you and the vehicle in front of you, stay alert, and look twice before turning left
  • Protect your melon! Always wear a USDOT-approved helmet. “Novelty Helmets” are not approved and offer little protection in a crash.
  • Always wear high quality/high visibility riding gear designed to protect you during a fall and boost your visibility to other drivers.
  • Maintain your motorcycle properly. Make sure your lights and horn are working, both mirrors are adjusted, and your tires are properly inflated and have legal tread depth.

Safety Tips for Drivers:

  • Drive sober! Never drive impaired by alcohol or drugs and discourage others from doing so.
  • Look Twice and Save a Life! Check your mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes.
  • Yield to motorcycles. Don’t make a rash decision and turn quickly in front of an on-coming motorcycle as it may be traveling faster than it appears.
  • Be a responsible driver. Ensure your vehicle is in safe operating condition and that all of your safety equipment is properly adjusted. Observe and obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals. Never speed.
  • Stay focused on the road and your surroundings. Never drive distracted. Don’t let cell phones and other activities distract you from your core mission — driving safely!

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.

To find information on which motorcycle safety courses may be available near you, go to the New York State Motorcycle Safety Program website (click here).

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