A recent report by Niagara Frontier Publications says that data collected by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College shows that “as of Aug. 15, deaths from motorcycle crashes are up more than 17% compared to the same period in 2019.” As a result of the increase in motorcycle deaths New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced increased enforcement of impaired driving laws over Labor Day weekend earlier this month. “Danger does not take a holiday and, with increased traffic on the road this Labor Day weekend, we all have a responsibility to exercise good judgment and caution,” he said in early September. “New York state will continue to crack down on dangerous driving behavior because the safety of all drivers and passengers will always be a top priority for us.”
Figures released by the University of Albany show a stark increase in motorcycle crash-involved fatalities over the last year. In April 2019 there were six crashes compared to 14 in April 2020; in June 2019 there were 20 compared to 24 in June 2020; and overall there were 73 fatalities in 2019 compared to 86 in 2020.
New York State’s 800,000 motorcyclists face increased safety concerns compared to car drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than people in passenger cars.” Moreover, the Administration found, motorcycle drivers make up about 14% of “traffic-related fatalities nationwide,” even though they only comprise “3% of all registered motor vehicles.” The Niagara Frontier Publications report lists a number of safety tips for motorcyclists, including the following:
•Drive sober! Never ride impaired by alcohol or drugs and discourage other riders from making a bad choice.
•Slow down! Speed is a top cause of traffic crashes.
•Use caution. Allow adequate space between you and the vehicle in front of you, stay alert, and look twice before turning left.
•Protect your melon! Always wear a USDOT-approved helmet. “Novelty helmets” are not approved and offer little protection in a crash.
•Always wear high-quality/high-visibility riding gear designed to protect you during a fall and boost your visibility to other drivers.
The report also advises that car drivers never drive impaired by alcohol or drugs, check their mirrors and blind spots before they change lanes, yield to motorcycles, drive responsibly, and stay focused on the road.