Kick Start New Riding Season with ABATE’s 23rd Annual Safety and Awareness Ride
ERIE COUNTY, NY— The steps of the Edward A. Rath County Office building were the scene today as elected officials, community members and officials from American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) of NY Buffalo Erie Chapter joined together to start the motorcycle season with a call for increased safety and awareness. Erie County ranks third in New York State in motorcycle fatalities, with 5 occurring already in 2012.
In a statement of support, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, “As motorists we all need to be vigilant and watchful behind the wheel, whatever type of motor vehicle we’re driving. With more motorcycles on the road every year, it’s important that all motorists are aware not only of road conditions but of the motorcycles around them. Using extra caution, good judgment and safe driving habits will help to make sure that everyone enjoys the riding season.”
According to New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) data, in 2010 Erie County trailed only Suffolk and Nassau counties in motorcycle fatalities, with 9. That year saw a total of 259 motorcycle accidents in Erie County, with 221 personal injuries and 264 total injuries reported. Those totals represented 4.8% of all motorcycle accidents in the State.
Known for their “Watch for Motorcycles” signs, ABATE currently has 25 chapters across New York State dedicated to promoting motorcycle safety, awareness and education. The organization also pursues fair treatment for all motorcyclists, closely monitors proposed motorcycle-impacting legislation, and works for freedom of choice regarding safety equipment. While protecting individuals’ “Right to Ride”, ABATE keeps members educated on all issues affecting motorcyclists.
“We always ask motorists to ‘look twice to save a life’ and ‘watch for motorcycles’, but with the increased number of accidents this year we are also saying ‘ride responsibly’,” said Peter Campanella, legislative coordinator for ABATE of NY Buffalo Erie Chapter. “Due to the warm weather and increasing fuel prices, we have more riders than ever. With more awareness, this does not have to mean more motorcycle accidents.”
John Glascott, Erie County Director of Central Police Services, said “Most motor vehicle accidents are of the fender bender type, and when cars are involved, ordinarily damage is limited to property damage only. Accidents involving motorcycles , however, are more likely to involve serious injuries or even death. All motorists need to obey the rules of the road, avoid distracted driving, and drive defensively.”
“It’s only the first week of May and we already have had five fatalities on motorcycles in our County”, said Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard. “Spring seems to be a deadly time of year for motorcycle accidents, probably because some riders are a little rusty as they’re used to driving cars. But make no mistake about it- you often don’t get a second chance on a bike. There is no room for speed, alcohol, or risk taking. I stand proudly here with members of ABATE who encourage their members to be informed, registered riders who promote safety.”
Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs added, “There are currently over 22,000 registered motorcycles throughout Erie County, along with thousands of other riders who travel our roads every day. It’s important to remind all motorists, especially new teen drivers, to be on the lookout for motorcycles and to safely share the road with them.”
For more information on ABATE of Buffalo/Erie visit www.buffaloerieabate.com
 New York State Motorcycle Accident Data by County 2010; New York State Department of Motor Vehicles