Photo Courtesy of NYPD
This unregistered motorcycle was seized during the 102nd Precinct’s latest safety check.
By Forum Staff
The City last weekend initiated a new Vision Zero safety campaign aimed especially at motorcyclists, whom data indicate are a far higher crash risk on warmer spring weekends, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday.
According to the administration, motorcyclists are over–represented among traffic fatalities in the five boroughs. Motorcycles comprise only 2 percent of registered vehicles in the Big Apple, yet from 2010 to 2014, motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of traffic fatalities. In that same period, fatalities among motorcyclists also skewed far younger (56 percent of deaths were under 35 years old) and more male (98 percent of fatalities) than any other mode of travel.
Additionally, City officials noted, the danger in the spring is most pronounced for motor vehicle occupants and motorcyclists on warm weather Saturdays and Sundays. On spring weekends when high temperatures exceed 60 degrees, the rate for drivers and car occupants killed or seriously injured (KSI) is 41 percent higher than the winter weekend rate. For motorcyclists, the KSI danger on weekends rises by a startling 88 percent.
“We need to keep our Vision Zero focus on safety, particularly among motorcyclists,” de Blasio said. “On warm weekends, we have seen dangerous driving increase. So we are telling both drivers and motorcyclists: When and if the sun comes out this weekend, there will still be absolutely no excuse for dangerous driving.”
The City Department of Transportation has offered safety tips for motorcycling season:
• Ensure Proper Licensure and Registration: Motorcyclists must carry a Class M or Class MJ State driver’s license. The most common license, the Class D passenger vehicle license, is not sufficient to legally operate a motorcycle. Riders also need to verify that their bike is properly registered and insured. Improper documentation can lead to seizure of the motorcycle by the NYPD.
• Stay off the White Line: Passing between vehicles is risky, especially this time of year when cars are not used to seeing motorcyclists out on the highways. Stay in the middle of a travel lane, and be predictable when passing.
• Pass on the Driver’s Side: You are much more visible in the driver’s side mirror than the passenger’s side.
• Get Practice before Riding the Open Road: As motorcycling season begins, you should not expect to be at 100 percent, and should take your time getting on the open road. Take your motorcycle to a parking lot or out-of-the-way street to gradually get your bike under you again. If possible, take a refresher class.
• Watch the Tires for Turns: The car in front or you may turn unexpectedly. Look to their front tires for sudden turns and keep a safe distance.
“It is imperative that motorcyclists understand that the exposed nature of a motorcycle leaves him or her particularly vulnerable to serious injury or death,” said NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan. “The chances of sustaining such injuries are substantially increased when coupled with dangerous or inattentive driving behavior, either by the motorcyclist or another vehicle operator.”
Drivers should be mindful of motorcyclists, DOT added. Drivers should always check their mirrors, look twice for motorcycles and deliberately use direction signals, giving ample time before making turns.”