Ritchie Bill To Boost Biker Safety Passes Senate

Patty Ritchie

May 17, 2017

Measures Would Add Motorcycle Awareness Training to the DMV’s Mandatory Pre-Licensing Course

State Senator Patty Ritchie is announcing a measure she sponsors to improve safety on our roadways by adding motorcycle awareness training to the DMV’s mandatory, pre-licensing course has passed the Senate unanimously. 

Under Senate bill S2119, a motorcycle safety and awareness component would be added to the mandatory five-hour pre-licensing class required of all new drivers.

“It’s so important that all drivers—and especially new drivers—know how to share the road,” said Senator Ritchie. “By making motorcycle safety training part of what new drivers are required to learn, we are taking an important step toward making our roadways safer for all who travel them, whether on two wheels or four.”

The bill was sent to the Assembly. 

According to the most recent statistics from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, there were more than 4,700 accidents—148 of which were fatal—involving motorcycles in 2014.  Of those killed, 135 were operating motorcycles.

The bill's passage comes as more bikers take to New York's highways and the state marks "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month" to raise awareness among motorists about the need to use extra caution around cyclists. Senator Ritchie offered these tips:

-Remember that motorcycles aren’t full-sized vehicles, and be sure to give them adequate space, as even the smallest amount of contact can have disastrous consequences for motorcyclists;

-Don’t assume a motorcyclist can quickly dodge out of your way—bad weather or rough road conditions can impact their ability to maneuver;

-Motorcycles can easily be hidden in the blind spots of those behind the wheel, so make sure you look twice before changing lanes or moving through an intersection; and

-Unlike cars, many motorcycles aren’t equipped with self-canceling turn signals, so be sure to treat any motorcyclist’s signal light as simply a light—and wait to react before you actually see the direction the biker is going in.