The Syracuse Post Standard reports, in an article titled, "Oswego County Motorcycle Deaths Increasing", that three motorcyclists have been killed already this year in Oswego County, and we are only in April. This totals more than the full-year of motorcycle fatalities in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Why? Warm weather has meant more bikers out earlier and, as the Post Standard notes, "drivers may not be prepared to see them".
But the warm weather is not the only factor responsible for more motorcycles on the road: high gas prices have pushed more motorists to switch to motorcycles. As a result, motorcycle registration is up all over New York State, including in Oswego County.
In the long run, more motorcycles on the road is good news for bikers. That's because there's safety in numbers. If car and truck drivers get used to seeing lots of motorcycles, they will be looking for them, and avoid colliding into them, with greater frequency.
I didn't just make up this "safety in numbers" theory. (Wish I could take credit for it). Proven examples abound, especially with regard to bicycles When the number of bicycle trips increased by 72% in Finland there was a corresponding 75% drop in the number of cyclists deaths. Another example: Between 2000 and 2008, the number of bicycle trips made in London doubled, but during the same period of time serious bicycle injuries declined by 12%. Similar studies have been conducted in other cities.
Still, motorcycles are a minority on our roads, and are likely to remain so unless and until gas prices get obscenely high -- say $10 per gallon. And their minority status is what makes them so hard for other motorists to notice. So until that 10-dollar-a-gallon day of reckoning comes, watch out for those cars, because they sure as hell ain't watchin' out for you!
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