Motorcycle Safety

DMV Commissioner announces Motorcycle Safety Awareness Campaign

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Raymond P. Martinez today announced a summer traffic safety campaign aimed at making motorists more aware of the presence of motorcycles on the state's highways. Last summer's successful traffic safety campaign called ''Drive Right'' has been enhanced to include television and radio spots encouraging drivers to watch for motorcycles.

Announcement of the campaign, an initiative of Governor George E. Pataki's Traffic Safety Committee, which Commissioner Martinez chairs, and the New York State Broadcasters Association, was made at the Americade, a rally in Lake George being attended by thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts this week. The GTSC will be unveiling another element of the campaign aimed at pedestrian safety in the near future as well as Spanish language versions of both the motorcycle and pedestrian television and radio spots.

"Motorcycle registrations and motorcycle licenses continue to grow at a steady rate,'' said Commissioner Martinez. "Since 1996, the number of registered motorcycles in New York State has grown by nearly 25 percent and motorcyclists now account for nearly 2 percent of the total 10.6 million registered vehicles.

''While the number of motorcycles registered has increased from 163,063 to 201,601 in the past five years,'' said Commissioner Martinez, ''the number of motorcycle fatalities has remained constant.''

Robert Rasor, President of the American Motorcyclist Association, attended the announcement of the campaign. Rasor praised Commissioner Martinez and the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee for their efforts to enhance the safety of motorcyclists in the Empire State. The association has launched a new initiative to battle what they consider a major cause of crashes -- other vehicles violating the right-of-way of motorcyclists. The multi-pronged effort aimed at some of the most common cause scenarios involving motorcyclists and cars is called "Motorcyclists Matter."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation issued a National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety last December in which it was pointed out that "When motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist's right-of-way.'' The two organizations emphasized the continued need to help other motorists ''think motorcycles'' and to educate motorcyclists to be aware of the problem.

NHTSA has recently contracted with a research organization to study the effectiveness of various motorists awareness campaigns. New York's campaign will be part of that study.

Under legislation signed by Governor Pataki in 1997, the state Department of Motor Vehicles established a rider-funded motorcycle safety program which has components for rider education and public information on motorcycling issues and has been developed in cooperation with the Motorcycle Association of New York State, Inc.have an exhibit at Americade's TourExpo promoting the New York State Motorcycle Safety Program.

Americade is promoted as the ''world's largest motorcycle touring rally'' and brings tens of thousands of motorcyclists to the Lake George region this week. The rally, featuring displays from the major motorcycle manufacturers, experts on every aspect of motorcycling, and guided and unguided rides through the Northeast, runs through Saturday, June 9.

Author Notes:

Dustin Armstrong contributes and publishes news editorial to  A buyers guide to all types of motorcycle helmets plus shields, googles, custom and wired radio helmets.

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