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Motorcyclists urged to take state safety course

Ellen Abbott
Motorcyclists operate their bikes on the training course.

Thousands of motorcyclists are preparing to hit the road as summer nears, and New York state is urging caution.  

To encourage caution and safety, the state is urging motorcyclists to take its Motorcycle Safety Program. During the course, motorcyclists weave in and out of traffic cones behind Shoppingtown Mall in DeWitt, the site of one of the state’s programs.

Program manager Ben Zadrozny said the idea is to get inside the head of riders and teach life saving techniques.

“We show them the proper technique of taking a turn,” Zadrozny said. “Slow, look where are you going, look down the turn, press on the handle bars and roll on the throttle, gently. We teach them that over and over again, so they pick up the muscle memory. And those are life-saving skills.”

Zadrozny said that kind of muscle memory can make all the difference in a dangerous situation.

"Thirty percent plus of everyone does nothing when a car violates the right of way; they just hit the car,” Zadrozny said. “We provide just enough muscle memory so that they can pull something right out of their hat and stop. They can pull a skill out from their hat when they need it most.”

Zadrozny said the problem is only about half the bikers on the road take the course. And 90 percent of those that don’t take the course, statistics show, are the ones hurt and killed in traffic accidents.

The number of motorcycle licenses issued is up 30 percent in the last decade. In 2012, there were 5,900 motorcycle crashes, killing 173 people.

The Basic Rider Course is available across the state. More information on these classes is available on the State Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.