Motorcycling has always been a popular activity in Pennsylvania, and it's been getting more so lately; the Keystone State reports that the number of registered motorcycles climbed to more than 400,000 in 2012. Unfortunately, there has also been a corresponding increase in crashes and fatalities, which is a big part of why last week, Governor Tom Corbett signed a proclamation commemorating May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
Last year in Pennsylvania there were 854,493 licensed motorcyclists, a 13 percent increase from a decade ago, and 409,017 registered motorcycles, 54 percent higher than a decade ago. PennDOT data reports nearly 4,000 crashes involving motorcycles statewide last year, resulting in 210 fatalities. This marks an increase from 2011 when there more than 3,600 crashes involving motorcycles and 199 fatalities in those crashes.
With Corbett's signing of Act 84 of 2012, basic motorcycle safety is emphasized as well; part of it requires motorcycle permit holders under 18 years old to successfully complete the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program's (PAMSP) Basic Rider Course (BRC) to receive their license.
The 15-hour BRC consists of five hours of in-class instruction and 10 hours of practical riding experience. The course provides training for new riders and gives experienced riders the opportunity to polish their skills. The 15 hours of training count toward the required 65 hours of training a permit holder under 18 must complete in order to receive their license.
To help promote safety and communication among the members of the motorcycling community, PennDOT offers an interactive website designed specifically for motorcyclists: www.livefreeridealive.com. The website challenges riders to take responsibility for their own safety and offers an open forum to share experiences.
For more information on motorcycle rider training or to schedule a course, visit www.pamsp.com or call 1-800-845-9533, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and noon.
The following is a copy of Governor Corbett's proclamation:
MOTORCYCLE SAFETY AWARENESS MONTH
WHEREAS, The safety of all Pennsylvania motorists is an issue of the highest consequence, and all highway users should unite in the safe sharing of roadways throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and
WHEREAS, motorcycle riding is a popular form of recreation and transportation for thousands of people across the Commonwealth and our nation. The Commonwealth's more than 854,000 licensed motorcyclists are required to keep their vehicles inspected and obey current laws relative to operator safety equipment; and
WHEREAS, in efforts to reduce the number of motorcycle crashes and fatalities, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation encourages all motorcyclists to take advantage of free training courses through Pennsylvania's Motorcycle Safety Program and pledge to Be One Less crash statistic by visiting www.LiveFreeRideAlive.com; and
WHEREAS, it is especially important that the citizens of our Commonwealth be aware of motorcycles on the streets and highways and recognize the importance of staying alert, practicing safe driving techniques and promoting motorcycle safety; and
WHEREAS, during the month of May, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education of Pennsylvania (ABATE) and the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Dealers Association (PMDA) will continue their advocacy of motorcycle safety.
THEREFORE, In recognition of the importance of motorcycle safety on our Commonwealth's roads and highways, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim May 2013 as MOTORCYCLE SAFETY AWARENESS MONTH. I encourage all motorcyclists to continue their efforts to promote safety and motorcycle awareness and all drivers to share the road and respect the unique safety needs of motorcyclists.