28th annual ABATE Motorcycle Ride starts 2018 riding season with Safety and Awareness Run
On Friday, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined in front of the Edward A. Rath county office building by Commissioner of Central Police Services James Jancewicz, elected officials and members of the law enforcement community, county members and officials from the American Bikers Aimed Toward Education ("ABATE") of NY Buffalo-Erie Chapter to start the motorcycle season with a call for increased safety and awareness. The 28th annual ABATE Safety and Awareness ride drew dozens of motorcyclists to downtown Buffalo for the police-escorted, awareness-raising run.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, with increased ridership and more bikes on the road.
"All motorists need to be vigilant and aware of other vehicles on the road, especially smaller vehicles such as motorcycles," Poloncarz said. "With more motorcycles on the road each year, it is important for all to use extra caution and good judgment while paying increased attention to who is sharing the road with us. Safe driving habits will make for a better riding season for everyone."
According to October 2017 data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research in Albany, there were 759 motorcyclist fatalities and more than 20,000 injury crashes in New York between 2012-16. In 2016 alone, there were 134 fatalities, over 4,000 injuries statewide, and 13 percent of all traffic fatalities were motorcyclists.
Motorcyclists in the 21-29-year age group are most likely to be involved in fatal crashes, and this age group accounts for nearly 30 percent of all motorcycle fatalities. Additionally, 50 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes occur on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and these crashes have a slightly higher rate of alcohol involvement compared to all drivers in fatal crashes.
Jancewicz said, "Motorcyclists are very vulnerable when they are travelling our roadways, and they are the ones who are most seriously hurt in accidents with four-wheeled vehicles. Drivers need to focus on who is on the road with them and get rid of all distractions to ensure their own safety and the safety of those driving around them."
Known for their "Watch for Motorcycles" signs, ABATE currently has 25 chapters across New York dedicated to promoting motorcycle safety, awareness and education. The organization also pursues fair treatment for all motorcyclists, closely monitors proposed motorcycle-impacting legislation, and works for freedom of choice regarding safety equipment. While protecting individuals' "Right to Ride," ABATE keeps members educated on all issues affecting motorcyclists.