Huseyin Bostanci / iStock
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – As temperatures and motorcycle traffic on Commonwealth roads rise, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) are joining agencies across the country to recognize May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
âAs more and more people enjoy the fun and excitement of motorcycling, we want to remind motorcyclists and motorists to share the road safely,â said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. âStaying conscious while driving or driving, obeying speed limits and being responsible will help keep fatalities and injuries as low as possible. “
There were more than 3,400 crashes involving motorcycles on Pennsylvania roads in 2020, killing 217. Accidents have increased by more than 300 from 2,977 in 2019, while the number of fatalities has also increased from 174 in 2019.
âRemember to slow down, don’t drink and ride, and stay upright and ready for the next riding adventure,â said Col. Robert Evanchick, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner. “All levels of riders are encouraged to enroll in a free safety training course and refresh their skills or even learn a new technique.”
PennDOT has contracted with several third-party motorcycle training providers to provide free motorcycle safety training courses to Class M licensees and motorcycle licensees in Pennsylvania. Class sizes may be limited as safety guidelines are in effect to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and classes may be scheduled at multiple training sites across Pennsylvania. Class schedules are coordinated by each third-party training provider for their individual locations and additional information can be found at www.penndot.gov/PAMSP. Additional classes and locations will continue to be added.
Successful completion of a basic or intermediate course dispenses with the requirement to take a skills test at a PennDOT Driver’s License Center and automatically grants the license holder their motorcycle license. Holders of a motorcycle license who complete a basic 3-wheeled course will obtain a motorcycle license with restriction prohibiting driving a 2-wheeled motorcycle.
Additionally, PennDOT offers a virtual motorcycle training course for those under the age of 18 who are required by law to complete a department-approved motorcycle safety course before they can take the skills test and obtain their motorcycle license. To schedule or for more information about this course, visit www.penndot.gov/PAMSP.
As part of efforts to promote the safe operation of motorcycles in Pennsylvania, PennDOT and PSP invite motorcycle advocates, safety partners and bikers to submit videos to PennDOT on a safety topic of their choice – to avoid distractions while riding to tips on maintaining motorcycles to ensure a safe ride. You can find more information on this public call at www.penndot.gov/PAMSP and by clicking on âMotorcycle Safety Video Projectâ.
Here are some safety tips that motorists should remember when sharing the road with motorcycles:
- Watch out for motorcycles: motorcycles are small and can be difficult to see. Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections.
- Allow more tracking distance: Allow at least four seconds when following a motorcycle.
- Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or entering traffic.
- Respect a motorcycle as a full-size vehicle with the same rights and privileges as any vehicle on the road. Give a motorcyclist full lane width as the motorcyclist needs room to maneuver safely in all types of road conditions.
- Never drive impaired.
Motorcyclists can do their part to avoid accidents by following a few simple safety tips:
- Be visible by wearing reflective clothing and put reflective tape on your protective clothing and motorcycle. Also wear face or eye protection and a DOT approved helmet.
- Use common sense driving soberly, obeying all speed limits, and allowing plenty of time to react to potentially dangerous situations.
- Know your motorcycle and do a pre-ride check.
- Practice safe riding techniques and know how to handle your motorcycle in adverse road and weather conditions.
For more information on motorcycle safety and training, please visit www.penndot.gov/PAMSP.