As the weather gets nicer, more motorcyclists are taking to the roads. Monday, the DuBois City Police and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation offered safety tips for sharing the road with motorcycles and provided an overview of the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (PAMSP) at DuBois Harley-Davidson.
“Warmer weather means more motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians on the roads,” said police Chief Blaine Clark. “They have the same right to use the roads as drivers do, so we ask everyone to be courteous and respectful while sharing the road.”
As part of the event, which kicked off Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, Clark reminded participants that Pennsylvania law mandates that riders wear a helmet unless they are at least 21 years old and have been licensed to operate a motorcycle for two calendar years. The law also requires riders and passengers to wear eye protection unless operating a motorized pedal cycle or three-wheeled motorcycle equipped with an enclosed cab.
Bobby Fitzmayer, community relations manager for the PAMSP, discussed free training available to residents with a valid motorcycle license or permit.
The courses were developed by Total Control Training Inc. and are tailored to hone a rider’s knowledge and test his or her ability to physically manipulate a motorcycle properly. There are five courses in total and three of them, the Beginning Riding Clinic (BRC), Intermediate Riding Clinic (IRC) and 3-wheel Riding Clinic, offer a pathway to earning a motorcycle license.
According to PennDOT 2017 data, there were 3,275 total crashes involving motorcyclists statewide, with 185 fatalities and 3,052 injuries in those crashes. Motorcyclists made up the largest percentage of drinking drivers (9.1 percent) of total drivers in 2017, so riders are urged to drive sober or be prepared to be pulled over.
Additionally, PennDOT suggests that motorcyclists consider the following safety tips throughout the riding season:
- Know your motorcycle and conduct a pre-ride check.
- Use common sense. Ride sober, obey posted speed limits and allow enough time to react to dangerous situations.
- Practice safe riding techniques and know how to handle your motorcycle in adverse conditions.
- Potholes, gravel, wet surfaces and other conditions that are a minor nuisance to motorists pose a significant threat to motorcyclists.
- Be cautious of gravel buildup from winter road maintenance on the edges of the roadways or near intersections. If gravel buildup is causing a hazard, report the condition by calling 1-800-FIX-ROAD.
- Be on the lookout for motorcyclists. They are smaller and can be more difficult to spot. Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections.
- Larger vehicles can block a motorcycle from view.
- Allow at least four seconds following distance when behind motorcycle.
- Always signal your intent to change lanes or merge with traffic.
- Respect motorcycles as full-size vehicles and allow a full lane width for the motorcyclist to maneuver safely in all road conditions.