Gov. Cuomo.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently highlighted an increase in motorcycle fatalities in NY this year as a warning to residents statewide to drive safely during the Labor Day holiday weekend, and predictably, the news media seemed to focus on motorcycle riders needing to be safer.

In my experience, most motorcycle riders are some of the safest people you will see on the road. They are constantly looking for danger and seeking to avoid it.

On the contrary, people in motor vehicles are increasingly distracted by food, music and technology to the point where many are a hazard to everyone around them.

Most car/motorcycle collisions are the result of the car driver never seeing the biker. Instead of blaming motorcyclists for riding motorcycles, how about we encourage drivers to put down their phones and look twice for motorcycles?

The Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College said its preliminary data shows that as of Aug. 15, 2020, deaths from motorcycle crashes have increased more than 17 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

“Danger does not take a holiday,” Cuomo said in a statement earlier this month. “With increased traffic on the road this Labor Day weekend, we all have a responsibility to exercise good judgment and caution.”

At least Cuomo focused on all motorists, unlike the news stories, which grabbed the motorcycle fatalities, and in many cases, used those numbers to focus on motorcyclists but gave drivers passes. Again, in some cases, stories focused on what motorcyclists should do to be safe and skipped the advice for drivers!

When you see numbers like the following in news stories, remember it’s only part of the story: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while motorcycles represent 3 percent of all registered vehicles, motorcyclists account for 14 percent of all traffic-related fatalities nationwide, and they’re 28 times more likely to die in a crash than those who ride in cars.

Thanks for reading,

ZiffLaw Attorney
Partner, Ziff Law Firm