FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, June 3, 2010
In 2008, there were nearly 5,400 motorcycle crashes in New York State. Motorcycle fatalities increased by almost nine percent from 2007 to 2008, although preliminary data does show a decrease in motorcycle fatalities between 2008 and 2009. The second most common factor in these crashes was failure to yield the right of way. Between 2008 and 2009 there was an increase of motorcycle registrations of almost ten percent.
With those statistics in mind, Commissioner David J. Swarts of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, members of law enforcement and motorcycle safety trainers today held an event in Colonie, New York to remind motorists to watch for motorcycles on the roadways and encourage motorcycle riders to be properly trained.
"With the warmer weather upon us, we see an increased number of motorcycles on our roadways," said DMV Commissioner Swarts. "Riding a motorcycle is more than a hobby and bikes are not toys. They are as much a part of our transportation system as are cars and trucks. We also remind motorists to watch out for motorcycles and encourage motorcyclists to get proper training so they can be prepared for every ride."
"We provide protection for all of the motoring public, however, there are times when we need to concentrate our efforts at specific times and places to maximize safety," said New York State Police Acting Superintendent John P. Melville. "With the warmer weather, the traffic mix will certainly include more motorcyclists. By their very nature these highway users are not afforded the protection of a typical car or truck, therefore we are asking the public to "look twice for motorcycles". And just as we ask the public to ensure their seatbelts are fastened, with our "Click It or Ticket" campaign we also want to emphasize to the motorcycling community that we take the same zero tolerance approach with non-compliant DOT helmets. We know that the primary cause of a motorcycle fatality is a head injury, therefore we will seek to ensure every rider, every time, has a proper DOT compliant helmet."
In 2008, more than 14,500 students were trained in the Basic Rider Course statewide. The course is a 15-hour training program including classroom and on-motorcycle instruction. It is designed for beginner and re-entry riders and allows them to learn or review basic riding skills.
Since the DMV began offering the road test waiver benefit in 1996, more than 100,000 motorcyclists have taken the Basic Rider Course in New York State. Approximately one quarter of all new motorcycle licenses issued in 2008 were earned by completing the Basic Rider Course.
As part of its continuing effort to encourage motorcyclists to participate in appropriate training the DMV recently completed a DVD entitled "Learning is For Life" which was also introduced at today's event. The 5-minute video was produced for the Department in cooperation with the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is intended for use by traffic safety professionals, traffic safety boards, law enforcement, motorcycle rider organizations, motorcycle dealerships and other organizations that interact with motorcyclists on a regular basis. This expansive network will be able to screen the video at public events, as part of traffic safety initiatives and other venues where motorcyclists can be reached and encouraged to enroll in rider education.
More information on motorcycle safety can be found by visiting the DMV's Web site at www.dmv.ny.gov or the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Web site at SafeNY.ny.gov. To view the 'Learning is For Life' video, please visit nysmsp.org .
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