Riding season is well under way, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and State College Police partnered to promote continued motorcycle safety.
Wrapping up Motorcycle Safety Month on Wednesday at #1 Cycle Center Harley-Davidson in Centre Hall, State College Lt. Barrett Smith said warmer weather means more sharing of the road.
“As weather improves in our area, we find ourselves sharing our roads with more users including motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians,” Smith said. “We want to remind everyone to respect each groups’ rights and know their own responsibilities when using our roadways, paths and crossings.”
Smith reminded those in attendance that state law requires motorcycle riders to wear a helmet unless they are at least 21 years old and have been licensed to operate a motorcycle for two calendar years. Riders and passengers also are required to wear eye protection unless operating a motorized pedal cycle or three-wheeled motorcycle equipped with an enclosed cab.
In 2017, Pennsylvania had 3,275 total crashes involving motorcyclists, with 185 fatalities and 3,052 injuries, according to PennDOT.
PennDOT offered the following safety tips, for both motorcyclists and other drivers:
- Know your motorcycle and conduct a pre-ride check.
- Use common sense. Ride sober, obey posted speed limits and allow enough time to react to dangerous situations.
- Practice safe riding techniques and know how to your motorcycle in adverse conditions.
- Potholes, gravel, wet surfaces and other conditions that are a minor nuisance to motorists pose a significant threat to motorcyclists.
- Be cautious of gravel buildup from winter road maintenance on the edges of the roadways or near intersections. If gravel buildup is causing a hazard, report the condition by calling 1-800-FIX-ROAD.
- Be on the lookout for motorcyclists. They are smaller and can be more difficult to spot. Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections.
- Larger vehicles can block a motorcycle from view.
- Allow at least four seconds following distance when behind motorcycle.
- Always signal your intent to change lanes or merge with traffic.
- Respect motorcycles as full-size vehicles and allow a full lane width for the motorcyclist to maneuver safely in all road conditions.
For information on PennDOT's Motorcycle Safety Program, visit www.pamsp.com.