Calls for motorcycle safety grow as fatal crashes jump 50%

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With fatal motorcycle crashes on the rise, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee is raising awareness about the need for safety on roadways.

According to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College, fatal motorcycle crashes increased 50% compared to 2019. Last year, there were 198 fatal motorcycle crashes that killed 204 people. The motorcycle crash deaths accounted for more than 18% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2021.

This year, there have already been nine deaths and more than 220 injuries early in the riding season.

“The rise of fatal motorcycle crashes is a harsh reminder to both motorists and riders that we must share the road responsibly,” said Mark Schroeder, chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and commissioner of the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

“The crash data we cite are not just numbers, they are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. I want everyone to enjoy New York’s beautiful riding season, but to do so safely and responsibly,” Schroeder added.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, so the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee is using public service announcements on radio, television and social media to promote motorcycle safety tips.

The state also holds motorcycle safety education events for police departments.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also has radio and television ads to encourage safety.

In New York, there is a state motorcycle safety program that was developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. According to a news release, the program includes courses that teach effective turning, braking maneuvers, tips on avoiding obstacles, strategies while in traffic, how to select protective apparel and vehicle maintenance.

More information about training courses can be found at nysmsp.org.

“We do much more than teach our students how to operate a motorcycle,” said Ben Zadrozny, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s program manager.

“We train our students how to be conspicuous on the road with both lane position as well as wearing the proper protective high visibility gear, especially a helmet that meets (Department of Transportation) specifications,” Zadrozny said.

“There are many lifesaving skills taught, both mental and physical,” he added.

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