PennDOT and PA State Police Remind Drivers and Motorcyclists to Share the Road Safely

motorcycleImage by Christel Saginiez

HARRISBURG, PA — As both temperatures and motorcycle traffic on commonwealth roadways are on the rise, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) join agencies throughout the nation in recognizing May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

“As more and more people enjoy the fun and excitement of motorcycling, we want to remind both motorcyclists and motorists to share the road safely,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Staying aware while driving or riding, 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 roadways in 2020, resulting in 217 fatalities. Crashes rose by more than 300 from the 2019 number of 2,977, while fatalities also rose from 174 in 2019.

“Remember to slow down, don’t drink and ride, and keep yourself upright and ready for the next riding adventure,” said Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. “All levels of motorcycle riders are encouraged to enroll in a free safety training class and refresh their skills or even learn a new technique.”

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PennDOT has contracted with several third-party motorcycle training providers to offer free motorcycle safety training classes to Pennsylvania class M permit and motorcycle license holders. Class sizes may be limited, as safety guidelines are in effect to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and classes can be scheduled at multiple training sites throughout 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 waives the requirement to take a skills test at a PennDOT Driver License Center and automatically earns the permit holder their motorcycle license. Motorcycle permit holders who complete a 3-wheel basic course will earn a motorcycle license with restrictions prohibiting the operation a of 2-wheel motorcycle.

Additionally, PennDOT offers a virtual motorcycle training course for individuals under 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 on this course, visit www.penndot.gov/PAMSP.

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As part of efforts to promote the safe operation of motorcycles in Pennsylvania, PennDOT and PSP invite motorcycle advocates, safety partners and riders to submit videos to PennDOT on a safety topic of their choosing – from avoiding distractions while riding to tips on motorcycle maintenance to ensure a safe ride. More information on this public appeal can be found at www.penndot.gov/PAMSP and clicking on “Motorcycle Safety Video Project.”

Some safety tips motorists should remember when sharing the road with motorcycles include:

  • Watch for motorcycles: motorcycles are small and may be difficult to see.  Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections.
  • Allow more following distance: leave at least four seconds when following a motorcycle.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Respect a motorcycle as a full-size vehicle with the same rights and privileges as any vehicle on the roadway. Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width as the motorcyclist needs the room to maneuver safely in all types of road conditions.
  • Never drive impaired.
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Motorcyclists can do their part to help avoid crashes by following some simple safety tips:

  • Be seen 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 by riding sober, obeying all speed limits and allowing enough time to react to potentially dangerous situations.
  • Know your motorcycle and conduct 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.

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