May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

All motorists reminded to ‘Share the Road’
and promote safe driving and riding practices

As the warmer weather of spring ushers in the start of the peak riding season, May is designated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board, in partnership with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, and State, County and local law enforcement, remind motorists to be aware of motorcyclists and to “share the road” to reduce accidents involving motorcycles.

motorcycleThis month-long observance aims to remind all motorists, including motorcyclists, of the importance of practicing safe driving and riding behaviors to reduce accidents and save lives.

County Executive Sue Serino said, “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a great reminder to all who use our roads that safety is a shared responsibility. I urge everyone to be kind and respectful on the road to help prevent unnecessary accidents and deaths.”

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a critical initiative that underscores the need for increased vigilance and courtesy on the road. There are more than 750,000 licensed motorcyclists in New York, a number that continues to grow. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are approximately 28 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash.

The following are tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on the 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, as in dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars; and
  • Never drive while distracted.

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by:

  • Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions;
  • Wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-complaint helmet;
  • Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it;
  • Combing 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.

Beyond the road, residents and landscape contractors are reminded that blowing cut grass clippings into roadways is not only dangerous to motorcyclists.

The Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board has additional resources for motorists of all types available on its website: http://www.dutchessny.gov/Departments/Traffic-Safety/traffic-safety-board.htm

Author: Harlem Valley News