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With A Higher Number Of Motorcycle Crashes In August, Officials Urge Caution

Matt York
Associated Press

With the back-to-school season upon us, many are starting to mourn the end of summer, but there are at least a couple months of warm and mild weather ahead – which is perfect motorcycle weather.

“Summer riding season for motorcyclists runs roughly from April to October.” This is when we see the majority of motorcyclists on our roadways,” said Juliann Sheldon, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The increase of riders means an increase of crashes, according to PennDOT.

“Regionally, we see an increase in motorcycle crashes during the month of August,” said Sheldon. “Over the past five years in Allegheny, Beaver and Lawrence counties there have been 290 crashes just in this month alone, which is the highest number of crashes year-round.”

In 2010, there were 63 crashes and 70 in 2013. In 2014, there were only 38 in District 11, which includes Allegheny County, but Sheldon said that decreased seems to be an anomaly.

PennDOT officials are urging motorcyclists to ride safely and, just as with cars and trucks, not to drive while impaired.

“It’s not just alcohol that could be a factor, but prescription medications or any kind of recreational drug that could cause impairment for these motorcyclists,” said Sheldon.

Sheldon said PennDOT offers free training at sites throughout the state for any resident wanting to learn how to ride a motorcycle. She said a bike and helmet aren’t even needed, those can be provided at training. In addition to motorcyclists focusing on safety, she said drivers of cars and trucks are also advised to use caution and be aware of and look out for motorcyclists on the roads.