State Senate approves Ritchie bill to educate drivers on safety for motorcycles
Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 2:56 pm

The state Senate has passed a bill that Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, says “would bolster the safety for motorcyclists in an effort to help prevent crashes that have claimed more than 1,600 lives in the past decade.”

Under the measure, a motorcycle safety and awareness component would be added to the current five-hour pre-licensing class for new drivers. In addition, new motorcycle safety questions would be added to the current written driver’s exam, Ritchie said.

“Whether you’re a new driver or you’ve been behind the wheel for years, it’s so important to be vigilant of those around you, especially when we are sharing our roadways with motorcycles,” said Ritchie, one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “Requiring new drivers to have this motorcycle safety training will not only protect cyclists, but will also safeguard everyone who hits the open road.”

Motorcycles have become increasingly popular throughout the state. Ritchie says she has “called upon state leaders to take necessary steps to increase awareness by drivers of the growing number of cyclists on state highways.” According to New York State Department of Motor Vehicles statics, over the most recent ten-year period, 1,676 lives have been lost from more than 52,000 crashes across New York State.

“Experts say that driver inattention is the leading cause of motorcycle fatalities,” Ritchie said.

This bill will now be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature.