Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) — Three fatal collisions involving motorcyclists have occurred in the past 16 days in Central New York, bringing the total number to four in a dangerous riding season.
Trooper Jack Keller, New York State Police Public Information Officer, says the crashes and deaths are part of a concerning trend.
“From 2021 to 2022, I think we’re seeing an increase [of fatalities in crashes involving motorcycles], for sure,” Keller said.
On average, there are 141 deaths each year since 2000, due to motor vehicle traffic-related motorcycle injuries in New York State, according to an accident summary report Keller provided. Preliminary 2021 data shows 204 people were killed in crashes involving motorcycles last year — well above the average.
Keller said motorcyclists make up a disproportionate amount of traffic deaths — about 11% statewide.
Trooper Jack Keller, @nyspolice PIO, says “we’re seeing an increase, for sure” in fatal collisions involving motorcycles in 2022.
— Karl Winter (@karlwinter23) August 10, 2022
Total fatal crashes are up from 13 from Jan.-Aug. 2021 to 23 thus far in 2022 in Troop D, including the four motorcyclists. Troop D encompasses seven counties in Central New York.
“One recent study shows that fatality rates in motorcycle crashes are increasing by almost 50 percent, and they’re also stating that helmet use is decreasing,” Keller said.
The lack of protective equipment is one of several factors that could contribute to the uptick in motorcycle deaths. Keller said cases of speeding are also higher than normal in 2022, statewide.
“It’s hard to put a finger on what’s the ultimate contributing factor, but speed definitely seems to play a role in these,” Keller said.
Tips for Motorcyclists and Drivers
Mike Andrianos of East Syracuse enjoys the riding season in Central New York, often taking his Harley Davidson Sportster 1200 on camping trips in the fall.
He and Keller echoed a familiar phrase to warn drivers to look out for motorcyclists — look twice, save a life.
“It’s a lot harder to spot a motorcyclist on a highway, especially around other vehicles like big trucks and things like that,” Andrianos said.
As a rider, Andrianos says he is careful to anticipate the next move of anyone with whom he shares the road.
“When I ride, I always assume a freak accident could occur at any moment,” Andrianos said.
He also wears a full face mask on his helmet when riding.
Keller shared the following tips for motorcyclists during riding season:
- Protect your head
- Wear high-quality riding gear
- Be conspicuous to boost your visibility
- Maintain a high level of awareness
- Drive sober
- Turn left with caution
- Slow down
- Allow adequate space between vehicles
- Observe and obey traffic laws
- Let other motorists know your intentions
Keller shared the following tips for other motorists:
- Watch for motorcycles sharing the roads
- Yield to motorcycles — don’t turn quickly in front of them
- Look twice, save a life
- Drive sober and responsibly
- Stay focused on the road — don’t drive distracted