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May is Motorcycle Safety & Awareness Month

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A time for motorists and motorcyclists to learn about safely sharing the road

Warmer weather is approaching, daylight hours are longer – it is finally spring. Motorcycle riders across Erie County are tuning up their bikes and getting ready for the riding season and the open road. Motorcycles are becoming ever more popular; they are inexpensive to operate, fun to ride and easy to park. In Erie County alone, there are more than 21,000 registered motorcycle riders who use their cycles for commuting, touring and recreational activities.

I want to remind all motorists, especially new drivers, to be alert to the presence of motorcycles on the road and to share the road safely. Cyclists often ride to one side of the lane and often times the motorcycle can hide in your vehicle’s “blind spot”. 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. Riders should 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 taking refresher rider safety courses. Riders can benefit from one of the motorcycle safety programs offered at several local locations for both new riders looking to learn and experienced motorcyclists who want to reinforce safe driving practices. Class locations and fees can be found at www.nysmsp.org.

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/autobureau.

I urge everyone to use caution when sharing the road this summer. Together, the more we raise awareness and follow the rules of the road, the more we keep motorcyclists and all motorists safe… Let’s ride smart, ride safe, and enjoy the season.