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NY Highway Safety Plan 2010 /mc enforcement included

November 17, 2009

FFY 2010

PDF 82 pages:

Motorcycle related ONLY. Tables not included:

Pages 33-38


Since 1997, the number of registered motorcycles in New York State has more than doubled with registrations reaching nearly 329,000 in 2008. During this same time period, the number of drivers with motorcycle licenses has also been on a consistent upward trend with the number increasing more than 20%. This increase in the popularity of motorcycles, both as a mode of transportation as well as a form of recreation, has been accompanied by an alarming increase in fatal crashes involving motorcycles.

The core component of New York’s program is the Motorcycle Safety Program, in existence since 1996, which provides instruction and field training to improve the riding skills of motorcyclists.

The program is supported through user fees and surcharges on motorcycle registrations and licenses and is administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles at 23 public training sites and nine military and police sites. As an incentive to participate in the training, the motorcycle skills test is waived for those who successfully complete the course. Riders who complete the course are also entitled to reductions in penalty points and insurance costs.
The number of students trained each year has steadily increased. By the end of the 2008 riding season, approximately 110,000 motorcyclists had completed the motorcycle safety education course.

New York has been using FFY 2008 and 2009 Section 2010 funds to develop programs that will augment the legislated Motorcycle Safety Program and to conduct conferences, workshops, seminars and other outreach modes that enhance the coordination of programs and training. The activities that offer training opportunities for course providers and instructors will promote the hiring and retention of quality staff. Where possible, New York will attempt to expand the network of providers beyond the legislated Motorcycle Safety Program to reach new geographic areas and supplement the availability of courses in high demand locations.

The use of the Internet and other venues for expanding training opportunities for police officers are also being explored. The NYS Sheriffs’ Association and the NYS Association of Chiefs of Police have both expressed interest in developing motorcycle safety and enforcement programs. The GTSC is exploring training avenues for the Sheriff’s Association which has allocated funds toward this end, while the Chiefs of Police plan to develop an educational program for presentation to law enforcement agencies. Both of these projects will be geared toward identifying compliant helmets, encouraging the use of proper safety gear, and promoting general motorcycle awareness.

The NYS Division of State Police has instituted a “Traffic Corner” on their agency intranet that highlights new changes in the traffic laws, announces upcoming traffic-related conferences and seminars, and offers training modules for online learning. A pictorial of common motorcycle violations is being developed for road officers. Once approved, this training module can be made available online or in an electronic format for distribution to other police agencies in the state.

The GTSC will coordinate and administer enforcement and education programs within the law enforcement community that address motorcycle safety. The New York State Police continues to receive funding for motorcycle enforcement details and educational ventures across the state. The Warren County Sheriff’s Department received funding to lease two police motorcycles and six officers have been trained and deployed. Other police agencies have begun to research countermeasures to reduce the rising number of injuries and fatalities within their communities; these include innovative enforcement strategies, establishing motorcycle units, and training officers in applicable traffic law sections regarding motorcycles. These initiatives augment the legislated Motorcycle Safety Program and enhance New York’s efforts to reduce crashes.

In January 2008, at the GTSC’s request, NHTSA provided a team of experts to conduct an assessment of New York’s Motorcycle Safety Program and make recommendations for improvements in a number of areas. The DMV safety programs group which was assigned responsibility for the motorcycle program will be reviewing the strategies recommended by the Motorcycle Safety Program Assessment team. The team’s recommendations include: improved oversight of the rider education program; increasing the number of authorized training sites; expanding safety awareness among motorcycle operators; and establishing local motorcycle safety programs addressing general safety issues, in addition to covering such topics as impaired driving.

In FFY 2009, DMV’s motorcycle safety program implemented virtually all of the administrative recommendations made by the team. Over the past year, the program has worked with communities on the local level establishing motorcycle safety programs in eight counties with an expected 10 additional programs to be added in 2010. DMV has issued 160 motorcycle safety videos to various agencies from local Traffic Safety Boards to motorcycle clubs. DMV has also increased the number of promotional materials highlighting motorcycle safety, and motorist awareness of motorcycles is part of the overall traffic safety message in television commercials recently completed by the department.

The number of fatal crashes involving motorcycles fluctuated over the five-year period, 2004-2008, from a low of 144 in 2004 to a high of 190 in 2006. After dropping to 164 in 2007, the number of motorcycle fatal crashes increased to 184 in 2008.

Although the number of fatal crashes in 2008 (184) was lower than the all-time high of 190 in 2006, motorcycle fatal crashes accounted for 16% of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in the state in 2008, the highest proportion to date.

The number of motorcycle crashes involving personal injuries also fluctuated between 2004 and 2007.

In 2007, there were 4,727 injury crashes, an increase of 11% over 2006; in total, nearly 5,000 motorcyclists were injured in crashes in 2007.

Each year from 2004-2007, motorcycle non-fatal injury crashes accounted for 3% of all non- fatal injury crashes that occurred in New York.

Based on FARS data, the number of motorcyclists killed in crashes spiked to 194 in 2006 from 150 in 2004 and 162 in 2005. The decrease in fatalities to 168 in 2007 was followed by another increase to 184 in 2008. The number of motorcyclists injured also fluctuated up and down between 2004 and 2007; in 2007, nearly 5,000 motorcyclists were injured.

In a statewide observational survey of helmet use by motorcyclists conducted in June 2008, only one out of the 2,142 motorcyclists observed was not wearing a helmet, a usage rate of 99.9%.

Helmet use among motorcyclist fatalities is lower; according to FARS data, between 2004 and 2008 the number of unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities nearly doubled (from 20 to 36). Although the numbers are small, these unhelmeted motorcyclists represented 13% to 20% of all motorcyclist fatalities over this time period.


Performance Goals
– To decrease motorcyclist fatalities 5 percent from the 2006-2008 calendar base year average of 182 to 173 by December 31, 2010
– To decrease unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities 10 percent from the 2006-2008 calendar base year average of 29 to 26 by December 31, 2010
– To decrease the number of injured motorcyclists 5 percent from the 2005-2007 calendar base year average of 4,771 to 4,530 by December 31, 2010

Performance Measures
– Number of motorcyclist fatalities
– Number of unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities
– Number of injured motorcyclists

Activity Measures
– Number of motorcycle operators trained and licensed
– Number of new training sites
– Number of statewide motorcycle enforcement initiatives implemented
– Number of motorists educated on motorcycle safety
– Report on unsafe motorcyclist behaviors
– Number of contacts with motorcycle rider education program


Educational Programs and Public Awareness

Motorcyclist Intervention and Education
The nature and operation of motorcycles make them more susceptible to crashes than other types of vehicles when the operator uses alcohol. The operator is also more likely to suffer serious injury or death in a crash than are drivers of other types of vehicles. Educational materials that bring this increased risk to the attention of motorcyclists are needed and new channels for their distribution should continue to be developed.

Public Awareness of Motorcycle Safety
Public information and education activities will stress the proper use of approved safety equipment, especially helmets. Efforts to increase awareness and educate the general driving population about motorcycle safety issues will continue. These efforts include New York’s participation in the national initiative recognizing June as “Motorcycle Awareness and You” month, PI&E campaigns, and PSAs and educational materials designed to heighten the awareness of the motoring public regarding the special safety needs of motorcyclists.

Motorcycle Safety Education
New motorcyclists will be encouraged to complete a motorcycle safety education course and to become licensed operators. The Motorcycle Safety Program will continue to foster the statewide availability of rider education programs and to increase the number of sites providing training based on criteria established by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. A portion of the motorcycle license and registration fees is set aside to fund this initiative. The public will be informed of the benefits, availability, and location of motorcycle rider education courses throughout the state. Experienced Rider Course (ERC) programs will continue to be offered as well. Future courses will also be conducted to train new instructors for the Motorcycle Safety Program.

Expand Network of Rider Programs
Where opportunities are presented, New York will attempt to expand the network of providers to reach new geographic areas and supplement the availability in high demand locations.

The GTSC will work with established partner organizations, such as the DMV, the NYS Traffic Safety Boards Association, and the NYS Chiefs of Police, to promote local rider safety education opportunities within their respective communities.

Program Quality
Maintaining the quality of the instructor cadre in terms of skills, knowledge and motivation is a challenge in every program. To maintain a high quality program, New York will use a variety of outreach modes to improve the availability of training for providers and instructors and to aid in the retention of qualified instructors.


Motorcycle Enforcement Checkpoints
Motorcycle safety checkpoints will be deployed in strategic locations to check for license and registration violations, non-compliant helmets, faulty or illegal equipment and other violations by motorcyclists. Variable message signs and other methods including aerial enforcement may be used to ensure mandatory compliance with the checkpoint. The checkpoints may also be used in conjunction with PI&E and research initiatives.

Officer Training and Local Enforcement
Police officer training on motorcycle enforcement issues and techniques will be conducted. The training will focus on safety violations such as unapproved helmets, equipment violations such as tires and lighting, and altered motorcycles, especially those with loud exhaust systems. Trained officers will be deployed to enforce these laws and issue tickets to violators.

Research and Evaluation
The Motorcycle Safety Program Assessment report included several recommendations for research and evaluation efforts that would assist New York in improving its motorcycle safety program. These research and evaluation initiatives will assist New York in identifying priority issues that should be addressed, assessing the effectiveness of the education and enforcement efforts undertaken, and defining future program direction and potential countermeasures.

Evaluation of Motorcycle Safety Program Initiatives
Because of the increase in motorcycle crashes and fatalities, motorcycle safety is a top priority of New York’s highway safety program. In addition to the state’s current efforts, the Assessment Team’s report included many recommendations for improving New York’s program. As New York expands its efforts to address this issue through enforcement, public awareness and rider education programs, studies to evaluate the effectiveness of the initiatives may be undertaken.

Scope and Nature of Motorcycle Safety Issues
The development of an effective program to address motorcycle safety issues requires a clear understanding of the scope of the problem, the nature of the crashes that occur and the characteristics of the motorcycle operators and passengers involved in those crashes.
Additional research is needed to examine issues related to motorcycle safety through analyses of DMV’s crash, license, vehicle registration and ticket files. Specific topics requiring more in-depth research include the extent to which motorcycle operators are arrested for impaired driving offenses, the specific makes and models of motorcycles involved in crashes and licensing issues related to motorcycle operators.

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