‘We all have a responsibility to keep roads safe’
By AAA of Western and Central New York
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and AAA Western and Central New York is reminding both drivers and bikers of key safety tips as the weather gets nicer. With Memorial Day weekend upon us, many bikers will choose to ride free on the open road amid summerlike temperatures. As an advocate for traffic safety, AAA hopes to reduce crashes and keep the rest of the spring and summer safe for all roadway users.
The number of motorcyclists killed in crashes dropped to 4,985 in 2018, an almost 5% decrease, but motorcycle riders are still overrepresented in traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Everyone can do their part to safely share the road, especially as motorcyclists take advantage of good weather. Both motorcyclists and drivers are responsible for sharing the road.
As a driver:
√ Check mirrors and blind spots for motorcyclists before entering or leaving lanes of traffic and at intersections. Most multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes occur when drivers simply didn’t see the motorcyclist.
√ Signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic. Even when signaling, allow enough time to determine a motorcyclist's intention before you proceed.
√ Increase following distance behind motorcycles and provide time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
√ Never try to share a lane with motorcycles – they have the same right to lanes as any other vehicle.
As a motorcyclist:
√ Before you ride, check tire pressure and tread depth. Make sure brakes, headlights and signal indicators are in working order.
√ Make sure any cargo is secure and balanced and adjust suspension and tire pressure to accommodate extra weight.
√ Always ride with a helmet that meets the U.S. Department of Transportation federal motor vehicle safety standard – look for the “DOT” symbol on the outside back of the helmet. NHTSA estimates helmets saved 1,872 motorcyclists’ lives in 2017, and that 749 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. Helmets are required in New York.
√ Wear other protective gear, such as gloves, a jacket and pants.
√ Make yourself visible. Keep your lights on, wear bright colors and use reflective tape, even during the daytime. Position yourself in the lane where drivers can see you.
√ Follow traffic laws, always use turn signals, and combine hand signals with turn signals when you can to make your intentions even more clear.
√ Never ride impaired – 27% of fatally injured riders in 2017 were driving under the influence of alcohol, according to NHTSA – and 43% of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2017 were alcohol-impaired.
As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.