By Tom Kowalski
As the weather warms up, bikers are urging safety for both drivers and fellow riders.
“It’s always a good idea to wear your gloves, helmet, and a good pair of boots,” said Marty Buterbaugh, President of the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Towards Education (A.B.A.T.E.) of Erie County. “The road, the street is no place for horseplay. That stuff belongs on a track or in an environment like Erie Speedway where they’re putting on shows. You doing that on the road gives all motorcyclists a bad name.”
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.
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/balanced, 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 back. Helmets save lives and 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 fatal motorcycle crashes in 2020 involved alcohol, according to NHTSA.