CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and Central New Yorkers are gearing up to take their motorcycles out on the road for the season!

AAA of Western and Central New York is urging both drivers and bikers to use caution.

For motorcyclists, it all starts with your bike:

  • Make sure everything is in working gear. Check tire pressure and tread depth.
  • Make sure headlights, brakes, and signal indicators work on your motorcycle.
  • Make yourself visible. Always wear a helmet that meets the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (displays DOT symbol on the back).
  • Wear protective gear and bright colors even during the day.
  • Check out the forecast too.

AAA of Western and Central New York Lead Driving Instructor, Eric Smith says motorcyclists should always be checking the forecast before they ride. It’s never a good idea to cruise around in the rain, and always be mindful of others.

“You want to always imagine that that person in front of you is going to slam on their brake or maybe cut you off in traffic, they are not paying attention. Alright, if you do that its going to help you in these situations where somebody might make a mistake and come into your lane and you’ll be more prepared in those situations,” said Smith.

Drivers need to use caution as well.

Driver safety tips:

  • Check mirrors, and blind spots for motorcyclists when switching lanes of traffic and intersections.
  • Use a turn signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Make sure you are leaving enough distance behind motorcycles.
  • Never share a lane with a motorcyclist, stay in your own lane.

“This is something that you need to start paying attention to, looking for with your driving. You can’t be driving the same speed because you might have a motorcyclist changing lanes or they’re smaller. So it’s something that you have to really actively pay attention to throughout this season,” said Valerie Puma, Communications Specialist, AAA of Western and Central New York.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) latest data, deadly motorcycle crashes are on the rise. In 2021, 5,932 motorcyclists were killed in crashes. That’s the highest number since 1975.

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