Motorcyclists saddle up with special responsibilities and special concerns. These powerful vehicles can lead to a fun, liberating lifestyle. However because they don’t provide the physical protection of a car body around you, you’re vulnerable to accidents becoming very serious, very quickly. Problems such as rough pavement, inexperience and collisions can cause lifelong problems.
There are more motorcyclists on the roads in New York State than ever. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, more than 655,000 motorcyclists are licensed in the state. During the last decade, registrations have increased by 76 percent, and licenses have gone up by 28 percent. Unfortunately, more motorcyclists mean more accidents and injuries, too: 2010 saw more than 5,500 motorcycle accidents with 5,400 injuries and 185 deaths. The DMV reports that motorcyclists are 39 times more likely to die in road accidents than car occupants.
To ensure you’re safe on your bike, make sure you have the proper equipment, and that all your equipment is in good working order. Your motorcycle should be in good repair. Driving and dressing to make sure you’re as visible as possible can be helpful for other operators. Try not to travel in poor weather as well.
Car drivers also have a responsibility to watch carefully for motorcyclists. Make sure you don’t drive too close to the cyclist: give him or her plenty of room so he or she has maximum reaction time if it’s needed. Motorcyclists usually can stop fairly quickly, but it depends on road conditions you may not notice from within your car. Always keep motorcyclists in mind — double-check your blind spots — when making lane changes and turns. Many motorcycle collisions occur when the motorist simply doesn’t expect the motorcycle to be there.