Fall Motorcycle Safety Tips for Bikers and Drivers

Fall Motorcycle Safety Tips for Bikers and Drivers

AAA reminds motorists and bikers that motorcycle season isn’t over just yet
All Regions
Elizabeth Carey

In recent weeks, motorcycle crashes have been reported across the region, including major cities like Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. Such tragedies have left many families and communities in mourning. At AAA, our thoughts go out to all of those impacted. With sunny weather in the forecast this weekend and with many people looking to make the most of the final days of summer, and the fall beauty that awaits, AAA Western and Central New York is reminding both drivers and bikers of key safety tips. As an advocate for traffic safety, AAA hopes to reduce crashes and keep the final weeks of motorcycle season safe for all roadway users.

The number of motorcyclists killed in crashes dropped to 4,985 in 2018, an almost five percent decrease, but motorcycle riders are still overrepresented in traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Everyone can do their part to safely share the road safely.

As a driver:

  • Check mirrors and blind spots for motorcyclists before entering or leaving lanes of traffic and at intersections. Most multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes occur when drivers simply didn’t see the motorcyclist. 
  • Signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic. Even when signaling, allow enough time to determine a motorcyclist's intention before you proceed.
  • Increase following distance behind motorcycles and provide time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
  • Never try to share a lane with motorcycles – they have the same right to lanes as any other vehicle.
  • Be aware that darkness descends earlier – keep an eye out for both bikers and cyclists.

As a motorcyclist: 

  • Before you ride, check tire pressure and tread depth. Make sure brakes, headlights and signal indicators are in working order.
  • Make sure any cargo is secure and balanced and adjust suspension and tire pressure to accommodate extra weight.
  • Always ride with a helmet that meets the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard – look for the “DOT” symbol on the outside back of the helmet. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,872 motorcyclists’ lives in 2017, and that 749 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. Helmets are required in New York State.
  • Wear other protective gear, such as gloves, a jacket and pants.
  • Make yourself visible. Keep your lights on, wear bright colors and use reflective tape, even during the daytime. Position yourself in the lane where drivers can see you.
  • Follow traffic laws, always use turn signals, and combine hand signals with turn signals when you can to make your intentions even more clear.
  • Never ride impaired – 27 percent of fatally injured riders in 2017 were driving under the influence of alcohol, according to NHTSA – and 43 percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2017 were alcohol-impaired.

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