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Spring season paves way for bikers on the road

What to do before, after an accident is crucial

An estimated 400 bikes participated in the annual blessing at St. Daniel's church on Court Street.

An estimated 400 bikes participated in the annual blessing at St. Daniel's church on Court Street. Photo by Amanda Seef.

— “Emotionally, how would you feel if you killed or maimed somebody because you didn’t pay attention?” Rabin said.

It’s more common

There are more motorcyclists on the road today than ten years ago — the number of registrations has been steadily increasing since the 1970s.

“In the old days, you’d be lucky to see a motorcycle,” said John Hayden, president of the Onondaga County chapter of ABATE, a national motorcycle group. “They’re very noticeable now. They’re everywhere.”

A lot of that is because of the economy, Hayden said.

The mileage in a motorcycle is considerably higher than in that of a passenger vehicle.

“For cheap transportation, motorcycles are on the front line,” he said.

While that helps those individuals’ budgets, oftentimes, the training behind the motorcycle license is lost, Hayden said.

“We have tons of motorcyclists on the road, and right now, they don’t have any clue on how to ride them,” he said.

Current laws don’t require road tests — a motorcycle permit and license is an endorsement on a traditional license. ABATE is pushing the state to change that, hoping that maybe, a change in legislation could help save more motorcyclists lives. They’ve also been working with dealerships to help further the educational efforts.

What bikers can do

It shouldn’t be that motorcyclists have to do something to be seen, Rabin said. However, there are a few techniques that can help motorcyclists let their presence be known.

The modulating headlight, for example, has increased in popularity in recent years. Previously, motorcyclists had the advantage of using a headlight during daytime hours. With the advent of daytime running lights on most passenger vehicles, the headlights weren’t helping motorists see bikers.

Enter the modulating headlight. It blinks from high to low beam.

“A lot of people get mad at me, putting their phones down because they think I’m the police, or flipping me off,” said Rabin. “People think I’m doing something obnoxious but all of that means one thing — they see me.”

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