The state Senate has unanimously passed a bill designed to improve motorcycle safety sponsored by Sen. Patty Ritchie.
Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, represents northern St. Lawrence County, including Ogdensburg, Canton, Gouverneur, Oswegatchie, Waddington, Lisbon, Madrid, Hermon and Morristown.
“Today, more and more people are using motorcycles to get around, and that means that all drivers need to be more aware of how to safely share the road,” said Ritchie.
The bill, S.2113, would add motorcycle awareness training to the Department of Motor Vehicles’ mandatory pre-licensing courses.
“By adding this training to the DMV’s pre-licensing courses, we can help ensure that new drivers are given the information they need—right from the start—to be more cognizant of motorcycles when they are out on the road,” she said.
The measure comes in the wake of a series of motorcycle crashes that claimed the lives of a number of North Country bikers.
The number of motorcycles on New York roadways has increased 12 percent over five years, according to Ritchie.
Likewise, motorcycle registrations in St. Lawrence County grew 20 percent during that time period, she said.
As the number of motorcycles increased, so did the number of accidents; in 2010, there were 5,570 motorcycle accidents across the state, including 180 deaths. More than half of accidents involved a collision with another vehicle, according to Ritchie.
The bill has gone to the Assembly for consideration.