Fatal motorcycle crashes are on the rise
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 warms up. Many motorcyclists will choose to ride free on the open road as the forecast calls for sunny skies, and AAA also wants to see safer roads in the future.
Unfortunately, the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that fatal motorcycle crashes are on the rise:
√ 5,579 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2020, an increase of 11% over 2019, and the highest number since 1975.
√ Fatal motorcycle crashes involving alcohol increased by more than 4% across the country in 2020.
√ In New York state, 200 motorcyclists were killed in 2020 – up from 136 in 2019.
For the second consecutive year, new motorcycle and scooter sales are up according to the Motorcycle Industry Council Retail Sales Report. For the full year 2021, sales of all on-road motorcycles (including scooters, on-highway, and dual) were up 14.2%.
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. 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/balanced, 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 back. Helmets save lives and are required in New York state.
√ 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 fatal motorcycle crashes in 2020 involved alcohol, according to NHTSA.
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.