New York state will soon include mandatory motorcycle awareness instruction as part of its mandatory five-hour course.

A bill approved recently by the New York State Senate would include motorcycle awareness training in the state Department of Motor Vehicle’s mandatory pre-licensing courses.

This is a great idea by the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Oswego County, because it is high time the state did something – ANYTHING – to get the drivers of cars and trucks to watch out for motorcycles!  If drivers hear about the importance watching for motorcycles from the beginning, maybe they will pay more attention to them when they get their license.

The legislation was approved unanimously.

Ritchie said she sponsored the bill because of the alarming increase in motorcycle accidents in her region of Central New York. Four motorcyclists have been killed already this year in Oswego County. That is more than any full year since 2008, Ritchie said.

Statewide, the numbers are just as grim. According to the most recent figures from the state DMV, there were 5,150 motorcycle accidents statewide in 2009 that included 152 fatalities.

“This is just one more step toward making our highways safer for both motorcyclists and those traveling on four wheels,” Ritchie said in a news release.  “By teaching people how to properly share the road, we can cut down on accidents and help save lives.”

The legislation will amend Vehicle and Traffic Law to add a motorcycle safety and awareness section to the required five-hour driving course. Specific requirements by the state commissioner of motor vehicles, Ritchie said.

Residents of Elmira, Corning and the Twin Tiers, what would you like to see the state include in the motorcycle safety component of the safe driving course? Please add you comments below.

Thanks for reading, and always ride safely!


ZiffLaw Attorney, Esq.
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Elmira, NY 14901
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