Trooper stresses safety after increase in motorcycle deaths

2022-05-14 18:55:30 By : Mr. john Xiao

Get the best experience and stay connected to your community with our Spectrum News app. Learn More

Get hyperlocal forecasts, radar and weather alerts.

Please enter a valid zipcode.

As temperatures rise, New Yorkers may notice more motorcyclists hitting the roads.

State Trooper Robert Saracelli spends a lot of time on the roads. When he’s not helping to protect the community in a patrol car, you’ll probably find him on his Harley Davidson.

"I've been riding bikes since I was probably around 12," said Saracelli. "When you get on a bike and ride and you have that freedom, it's just like a freedom that gets you to clear your mind of things. It's actually very therapeutic."

But before you go, Saracelli said there’s some important things to keep in mind to keep you safe — starting with having the right gear.

"First thing is eye wear. You always want to see and be seen, and if your eyes are not protected while you're riding, it's gonna be very difficult to ride a bike," said Saracelli.

He also stressed the importance of having a state Transportation Department-approved helmet.

"What it does is it's actually going to increase your survivability in the accident. You might be banged up good. You might even have some head injuries, but at least your head will be intact," said Saracelli.

He always makes sure he wears protective clothing like a reflective jacket with reinforced elbows and shoulder pads in case he falls off the bike. And he said riders shouldn't get on bikes unless they have a motorcycle endorsement on their license.

"Make sure you don’t drive beyond your capabilities. We have a lot of people, they just get on a bike, they think they can ride," said Saracelli.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2019 to 2020, motorcyclist fatalities in New York jumped by 47%.

Saracelli said the pandemic and the economy could have been a factor.

"During the pandemic, people just wanted to get out. They were just tired of being in quarantine," said Saracelli. "People wanted to be out and about, so they found a way to free themselves, so to speak."

But he said many motorcyclists weren’t experienced enough to hit the roads.

"You weren’t able to take safety courses. You weren’t able to go to the DMV to get your licenses. We did have some people that actually were fatally taken from us because they didn’t have a license or an endorsement. They were inexperienced," said Saracelli.

He also wants drivers of regular vehicles to watch out for motorcyclists and give them plenty of extra space on the road.

"People are on their cell phones and stuff. They're just talking to people, they're listening to the radio," Saracelli said. "If they don’t see a bike that’s stopped in front of them and you rear-end a person on a bike, it could be disastrous. It could be fatal​."

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a reminder of the best ways to keep each other safe on the roads.

Saracelli said all motorcyclists should take a motorcycle safety course before they hit the roads. To find out how you can enroll in one of these safety courses, contact your local motor vehicles department.