A time to remind motorists and motorcyclists to safely share the roadways
Guest Editorial by Erie County Clerk Michael P. Kearns
Warmer weather has arrived, daylight hours are longer and it is finally spring. Motorcycle riders across Erie County are tuning up their bikes and getting ready for the riding season on the open road. Motorcycles are becoming even more popular; they are inexpensive to operate, fun to ride and easy to park. In Erie County alone, there are more than 21,000 registered riders who use their motorcycles for commuting, touring and other recreational activities.
I ask all motorists, especially new drivers, to be alert to the presence of motorcycles and to share the road safely. Motorcyclists often ride to one side of the lane and, at times, the rider can hide in your vehicle’s blind spot. Always look twice before turning or changing lanes to be sure your path is clear. Allow more following distance for motorcycles – two or three car lengths is recommended, more if the roads are wet or visibility is poor.
Additionally, riders should follow motorcycle safety protocols: wear protective gear at all times, including a helmet; ride within your skill limits; and do not ride impaired or distracted. Riders can also benefit from any of the motorcycle safety programs offered for both new riders looking to learn the critical skills needed to ride safely and seasoned riders who want to reinforce safe driving practices. Course graduates may also qualify for insurance premium discounts with some insurers. Class locations and fees can be found at nysmsp.org.
Before hitting the road this driving season, I remind motorcyclists to visit the Erie County Auto Bureau to get properly licensed and to “Renew Local” when renewing their motorcycle registration, which expires annually on April 30. For more information on motorcycle licensing and registration, visit us at erie.gov/clerk/autobureau.
I urge everyone to use caution when sharing the road this summer. Together, the more we raise awareness and follow the rules of the road, the more everyone is safe. Let’s ride smart, ride safe, and enjoy the season.