P.a. (WETM) — Pennsylvania State Police and PennDOT are reminding drivers and motorcyclists to be safe during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

“As more and more people enjoy the fun and excitement of motorcycling and the benefits of a more budget-friendly means of transport, it is in the best interest of both riders and drivers to share the road safely,” said PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Driver and Vehicle Services Kurt Myers. “Drivers and riders can work together to help lower fatalities and crashes by staying aware while driving or riding, obeying speed limits, and being responsible while operating any vehicle.”

According to PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police, there were over 3,300 motorcycle crashes in Pennsylvania last year. These crashes caused 217 fatalities. In 2021, there were over 3,500 crashes and 230 fatalities.

Pennsylvania residents with either a motorcycle permit or license are invited to participate in training opportunities through the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program (PAMSP). Experienced and inexperienced motorcyclists can take any of the courses to refresh their skills or earn their licenses. Pennsylvanians can also take free motorcycle training classes with one of the third-party providers contracted by PennDOT. Classes can be found using this page on PennDOT’s website. PennDOT recommends contacting each provider directly to check class availability and to see if there are additional classes offered.

PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police released some tips to help avoid motorcycle crashes. They recommend motorcyclists know the motorcycle they’re riding well and conduct pre-ride checks. Motorcyclists should also know how to handle their motorcycles in adverse road and weather conditions. Wearing reflective clothing and putting reflective tape on your motorcycle and protective clothing helps increase visibility and can help prevent nighttime crashes. The State Police and PennDOT also say practicing safe driving techniques like riding sober and obeying speed limits helps motorcyclists avoid crashing.

Motorists sharing the road with motorcycles can take some precautions to avoid crashes. Drivers should always check their mirrors when changing lanes and at intersections. It’s important to remember that motorcycles are much smaller than cars and can be difficult to see. Even though motorcycles are small, they should be treated like full-size vehicles. Motorcycles need the full width of a lane to maneuver roads safely. Drivers should also have a larger following distance when behind motorcycles. Drivers should always signal when merging or changing lanes, and this can be critical in avoiding motorcycle crashes.