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May is Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Month

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Erie County, NY- The warm weather is approaching, daylight hours are longer -- spring is finally here. Motorcycle riders everywhere are polishing their bikes and getting ready for warm weather and the open road. Motorcycling is a popular choice for economical and convenient travel. They are inexpensive to operate, fun to ride and easy to park. In Erie County alone, there are more than 22,000 registered motorcycle riders who use their cycles for commuting, touring and recreational activities.

I want to remind all motorists, especially new drivers, to be on the lookout for motorcycles and to share the road with them safely. Car and other vehicle operators must be alert to the presence of motorcycles on the road. Since cyclists often ride to one side of the lane and the cycle can hide in seemingly empty areas, I encourage all motorists to be aware of the car’s blind spots. Carefully check before turning or changing lanes and look two or three times before making a move. Allow more following distance for motorcycles -- two or three car lengths is recommended, more if the roads are wet or visibility is poor.

Unfortunately many riders never learn the critical skills needed to ride safely. Before hitting the road this driving season, I encourage all motorcycle riders to visit any of the Erie County Auto Bureaus to get properly licensed and to register their “bikes”. For more information on motorcycle licensing and registration please contact the Erie County Auto Bureau Call Center at 716/858-7450 or visit us at www.erie.gov/clerk and click on the Auto Bureau tab.

Additionally riders should also take a moment to review the aspects of motorcycle safety- wear protective gear at all times, including a helmet, ride within your skill limits, ride unimpaired and become a life-long learner by brushing up each year and taking refresher rider courses. Together, the more we raise awareness, the more we keep motorcyclists and all motorists safe! Riders can benefit from a Motorcycle Safety Program rider safety class offered at several local locations for both new riders looking to learn and experienced motorcyclists who want to pick up tips. Class locations and fees can be found at www.nysmsp.org.

All riders as well as motorcycle enthusiasts are welcome to join ABATE’S (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) 24th annual Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Rally and Run on Saturday, May 4 as we declare May “Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Month” in Erie County.

Riders should line up at 10:00 am in front of the Rath Building, 95 Franklin Street. A ride with police escort will begin immediately following presentations at 12 noon.

On behalf of all drivers, I urge everyone to use caution when sharing the road this summer. Let’s ride smart, ride safe, and enjoy the season.