2009-04-23 / Local & State

Spring Signals Return Of Motorcyclists

PennDOT reminds all drivers to share the road

As one of the many emerging signs of spring, motorcycle riders are returning to Pennsylvania roads - prompting PennDOT to remind all motorists to share the road, remember safety rules and always obey traffic laws.

"With motorcycle use sharply on the rise, it is essential for operators of all types of vehicles to look out for one another," said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehle, P.E. "By driving in a courteous manner and curbing aggressive behavior, motorists and motorcyclists can safely share the road."

Nearly 4,200 crashes involving motorcycles occurred on Pennsylvania roadways in 2008, resulting in 236 motorcyclist fatalities.

The number of registered motorcycles in Pennsylvania increased in 2008 by more than 30,000, while the number of licensed motorcyclists increased by 15,000.

By virtue of their smaller size and differences in maneuverability, motorcycles present unique challenge to cyclists and other drivers. Motorcycles are often hidden in a motorist's blind spot or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a vehicle. For that reason, motorists should double-check blind spots and rearview and side mirrors before changing lanes or making turns.

PennDOT crews are working across the state to remove winter materials and patch potholes, which can create a challenge for all vehicles, particularly motorcycles. Drivers can report potholes and other roadway maintenance concerns on state roads by calling 1-800-FIX-ROAD.

A motorcycle rider's best defense in the event of a crash is wearing protective riding gear. Riders can protect themselves by wearing a U.S. DOT-approved helmet, face protection, and brightly-colored clothing, including long-sleeved shirts, fullfingered gloves, long pants and foot protection that covers the ankle.

Pennsylvania law mandates the use of eye-protective devices for all motorcyclists and their passengers unless operating a motorized pedalcycle or a threewheeled motorcycle equipped with an enclosed cab. The law also mandates the use of protective headgear unless the motorcyclist is 21 years of age and has been licensed to operate a motorcycle for not less than two full calendar years or has successfully completed a motorcycle safety course approved by PennDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

Approved motorcycle safety training courses also may help to reduce the number of preventable crashes. New and seasoned Pennsylvania riders can take advantage of free basic and advanced motorcycle safety courses through the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program. For more information visit www.pamsp.com.

Additional motorcycle safety tips are available on PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle Services Web site at www.dmv.state.pa.u, under the Motorcycle Information Center.

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