American Bikers Aimed Toward Education call for road safety as summer nears

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more bikers are on the road than ever before.

Organizations like the American Bikers Aimed Toward Education say road safety is more important than ever. Chris Pecchio, the vice president of ABATE’s New York State Chapter, says drivers need to keep their head on a swivel. 

“You don’t have to be drunk or high or anything to cause an accident,” he said. “All you have to do is look away.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 6,200 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2022, which is the highest number since 1975.

“I think people are excited to get out once the weather starts to break and a lot of people are ready for the gravel and all the stuff on the roads,” Pecchio said. “The motorists aren’t ready for seeing us maybe as early as we are out there. Lack of attention is a big part of it on both parts.”

Pecchio reminds drivers that it only takes a split second to cause a crash, whether it’s changing the radio station, checking a cellphone, or not looking in blind spots.

“Last year back in July, two of my friends who were actually part of my chapter, one died, and one lost his leg, all because somebody took a left hand turn,” Pecchio said. “They didn’t see him behind a truck and he basically drove over them.”

1 seriously injured after motorcycle crash on I-290 West

Just this Saturday afternoon, a motorcyclist was seriously injured on the I-290 West in Amherst. Police say a 20-year-old biker crashed into the back of an SUV and was rushed to ECMC.

“Everyday is a learning experience when you’re either driving a car or a motorcycle,” Pecchio said.

When getting your bike ready for the season, Pecchio says to keep an eye on the tire pressure, look for any dry rotting and check your brakes. He also says to wear the proper riding gear, use turn and hand signals, and maintain an equal distance when riding behind a car.

Pecchio tells News 4 he wants to see harsher penalties for those who endanger the lives of bikers on the road.

Deadly motorcycle crashes accounted for 15% of all crashes in 2022, according to the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration numbers.

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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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