Oswego County News Release
Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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June 10, 2009

June Proclaimed Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Month in New York State

Oswego County Sheriff Reuel A. Todd Promotes, ‘Sharing the Road,’ with Motorcycles by Joining Efforts with Local, State and Federal Partners

Motorcyclist fatalities have steadily increased over the past decade. In fact, in 2007, there was a seven percent increase in fatalities from 4,837 in 2006, to 5,154. That's why the Oswego County Sheriffs' Office announced today that they are joining with other federal, state and local highway safety, law enforcement, and motorcycle organizations in proclaiming June 2009 as, "Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month," in New York State. All motorists are reminded to safely, "Share the Road," with motorcycles and to be extra alert when driving to help keep motorcyclists safe. Motorcyclists are reminded to make themselves visible to other motorists in case other drivers are not looking out for motorcycle riders.

"As the weather improves, more and more motorcyclists are hitting the roads, and with that in mind, drivers of all vehicles, whether you're driving an SUV, passenger car or truck, need to be extra attentive and make sure you, ‘Share the Road.’ Motorcycles are some of the smallest vehicles on our roads, often hidden in a vehicle's blind spot so everyone needs to really look out for them," said Sheriff Todd.

It's crucial that motorists always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections. According to Sheriff Todd, "Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too. They should follow the rules of the roadway, be alert to other drivers, and always wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.”

Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than passenger vehicle occupants in the event of a crash. He said that research shows that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 37 times more likely than a passenger car occupant to die in a traffic crash.

The Sheriff offered several tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways:

  • Remember the motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle on the roadway. Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width- never try to share a lane;

  • Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections;

  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic;

  • Don't be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle - motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed;

  • Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, when behind a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency, and don't tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.

In addition he said motorcyclists can increase their safety by:

  • Avoid riding in poor weather conditions;

  • Wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-compliant helmet;

  • Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it;

  • Combining hand and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves;

  • Using reflective tape and stickers to increase conspicuity; and

  • Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers.

Sheriff Todd concluded by saying, “My message to all drivers and motorcyclists is, make this the first year in recent years when motorcycle fatalities do not increase. Help to share in the responsibility and do your part by safely ‘Sharing the Road’.”

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