Throughout the nation, motorcyclists are hitting the road to make the public aware motorcycles and scooters are a viable mode of transportation during a time of high gas costs and traffic congestion.
As a result, AAA Northeast advises motorists and motorcyclists alike to be more aware — more than ever before — of the need to share the road safely.
Prompted by rising gas prices and greater numbers of women and older riders hitting the road, motorcycle registrations have exploded over the last decade. This in turn has resulted in increases in motorcycle fatalities in many states.
Based on the preliminary statistics from Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), motorcyclist fatalities are expected to increase by 10% in 2015 compared to 2014.
This increase follows two years in which the number of motorcyclist fatalities decreased according to the GHSA, which expects 5,010 motorcycle fatalities to occur this year compared to the 4,548 for 2014.
Connecticut seems to be bucking the trend. However in recent months, the state has experienced a spate of motorcycle injuries and fatalities in June in Connecticut, the most recent occurring in Monroe where a 24-year-old motorcyclist crossed a center line and collided with a Land Rover.
Preliminary state data provided by the GHSA forecasts an estimated 45 motorcycle deaths in 2015, compared to the 54 reported in 2014, a 17% decrease.
In Connecticut, there is mandated rider training through the Connecticut Rider Education Program prior to receiving a motorcycle endorsement. The state currently requires helmets for all riders younger than 18 and continues to push for a universal helmet law. For a list of training locations in Connecticut, visit ride4ever.org.
This is the 25th year Ride to Work Inc., (ridetowork.org), a Minnesota-based non-profit organization, is sponsoring “Ride To Work” Day. The volunteer group advocates the use of motorcycles and scooters for daily transportation and should be considered a serious mode of transportation that saves gas, reduces traffic congestion and alleviates parking problems.
Meanwhile, AAA Northeast offers these tips to keep drivers and bikers safe on the roadways.
As a motorist, it’s your responsibility to:
- Give motorcycles the time and space to safely maneuver in traffic as they prepare to make turns, cross intersections and change lanes. A motorcycle’s smaller profile makes it hard to see, especially at higher speeds, in dim light or at night.
- Respect the right of motorcyclists who have full rights and privileges as any other motor vehicle on a roadway. Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width; never try to share a lane.
- Allow more following distance – at least three to four seconds — so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop. Tailgating a bike can unsettle a rider, making him or her lose control.
As a motorcyclist, it’s your responsibility to:
- Wear proper gear: a high-quality helmet, appropriate eye protection, footwear, and gloves; and bright, reflective riding apparel.
- Make sure your bike clearly visible with working head- and taillights, and operating turn and stop lamps. These are crucial to being able to See and Be Seen on roadways.
- Enroll in a motorcycle safety course if you’re a new rider. If you’re an experienced rider, a class will refresh or enhance your existing skills. The Connecticut Rider Education
Program (CONREP) is administered through the state Department of Transportation and training sessions are held from April through October at various locations throughout the state. Visit www.ride4ever.org and link to “ConRep.”
AAA Northeast is a not-for-profit auto club with 62 offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire and New York, providing more than 6 million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services.