AAA reminds motorists and bikers that motorcycle season isn’t over just yet
By AAA of Western and Central New York
This summer, motorcycle crashes have been reported across the region, including major cities like Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. Such tragedies have left many families and communities in mourning. As an advocate for traffic safety, AAA hopes to reduce crashes and keep the final weeks of motorcycle season safe for all roadway users.
With warm weather in the forecast this month – and with many people looking to make the most of the final days of summer, and the fall beauty that awaits – AAA Western and Central New York is reminding both drivers and bikers of key safety tips.
Unfortunately, the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that fatal motorcycle crashes are on the rise:
√ 5,932 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2021, the highest number since 1975, up from 5,579 in 2020
√ Motorcycle fatalities increased 9% in 2021 compared to 2020
√ Fatal motorcycle crashes accounted for 14% of all crashes in 2021
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the number of on-road motorcycles registered in the U.S. has risen over the past 10 years, doubling from 4.3 million in 2002 to 8.6 million in 2021.
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 862,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.