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New York Motorcyclists Urged to Obey Speed Limit and to Wear a Helmet to Reduce Fatalities

Published June 7, 2012 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month officially ended with the start of June, but our Binghamton motorcycle accident lawyers want to remind all drivers, and motorcyclists as well, that safe driving behaviors should be kept in mind year-round. A recent study about the continued high number of motorcycle accident fatalities reminds us all that motorcyclists face higher risks on the highway than passenger vehicle occupants.

The Governors Highway Safety Association reported last month that while the number of fatalities among automobile accidents has reached the lowest number since 1949, with a nearly 2% decline over last year’s numbers, “no progress was made in reducing motorcyclist deaths in 2011.” Motorcycle fatalities remained unchanged at about 4,500 in both 2011 and 2010.

In New York in 2010, 173 motorcycle drivers died, or more than 3 percent of the motorcyclists involved in a reported 5,570 motorcycle crashes, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, in the preliminary 2011 figures released by the GHSA, New York was one of just a few states that saw good news in the numbers. The GHSA reports that New York had 26 fewer motorcycle fatalities in 2011 (137) than over the same first nine months of the year in 2010 (163).

Unfortunately, a recent disturbing story of a motorcyclist driving nearly 200 mph on a New York highway leads many to place blame on the motorcyclists themselves for fatal accidents. The Times Tribune reports that a motorcyclist was clocked at 193 mph on the southbound lanes of I-87 near Albany last Wednesday evening around 8 p.m. The police report that just weeks earlier another motorcyclist was traveling at 166 mph on the same stretch of road.

The GHSA made various recommendations to all states to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities. “The good news is that we know how to prevent crashes and the resulting injuries and fatalities involving motorcycle riders’ and their passengers. There are effective strategies that, if implemented, can make a difference,” said GHSA Chairman Troy Costales.

Although the primary recommendation is to impose a helmet law, New York already requires all motorcyclists to wear helmets when riding within the state, GHSA offers other specific strategies NY motorcyclists should heed.

The GHSA recommends that states adopt strategies to reduce alcohol impairment, reduce speeding, train all motorcycle operators, and encourage other drivers to share the road with motorcyclists. According to the GHSA report, 35 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, and more than half did not involve another vehicle.

Our Binghamton accident attorneys recognize that NY law enforcement is leading the country in keeping our highways safe. In fact, NY officials cited “enforcement” as playing a role in decreasing or limiting the increase in motorcyclist fatalities in the state last year. We also ask motorcyclists and all drivers to do their part in helping to keep motorcyclists safe on our highways.

About Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, handles all types of personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases, including cases involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles and boats. The firm also represents clients in actions for wrongful death, cancer misdiagnosis, dog bites, hunting accidents, birth injuries, brain injuries, construction accidents, fall down injuries and insurance settlements. The firm regularly employs accident reconstruction experts, investigators, photographers and economists to assist in evaluating and preparing personal injury cases. In 2008, the firm reached the $100-million mark in combined lifetime verdicts and settlements. The firm features offices in Binghamton, Elmira, Rochester, Syracuse and Watertown. For more information, call (800) TALK-LAW or use the firm’s online contact form.

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