Will recent motorcycle deaths increase NJ fatality rate?
It's too soon to tell whether a couple of deadly motorcycle accidents this month in New Jersey will lead to an increase in the fatality rate for 2016, but there were fewer such incidents last year, according to State Police.
There were 49 motorcycle deaths on Garden State roads in 2015, which resulted in an 8.7 percent decrease in total fatalities statewide, according to State Police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Flynn.
The decline last year followed a spike in 2014 motorcycle deaths, in which 61 people were killed in New Jersey after decreases in 2013 and 2012.
Motorcycle riding is more popular during the warmer months, when more crashes tend to occur, according to Flynn.
Just this month alone, three people were killed in motorcycle-related accidents in New Jersey: A Newark man died after crashing into a car on a Route 280 exit ramp; a 19-year-old Manalapan man ejected from his motorcycle died; and a 26-year-old Toms River man succumbed to injuries suffered in a collision with a minivan.
Flynn advised drivers to leave enough distance between their vehicle and a motorcycle to allow time to react and avoid a potential crash.
"Sometimes, if a motorcyclist might lose balance or lose control, they're going to end up falling on the roadway. They're going to be, essentially, a pedestrian. They're not protected by the car like in passenger vehicles, so if you allow yourself a little more distance, you can have some more time to brake and possibly safely avoid the person on the ground," said Flynn.
Flynn also warned motorcyclists to obey traffic laws and not to ride up the middle of two lanes to get around vehicles.
"It's an improper pass. Motorcyclists aren't supposed to be passing riding on those dashed lines or in between cars, they're supposed to make a lane change just like any other vehicle," Flynn said.
"That's an extremely dangerous practice. It's illegal and unsafe. We don't recommend anyone doing that, especially if you're coming up on the right."
State Police recommend motorcyclists follow Department of Transportation guidelines for helmet use to have the best chance for reducing any injuries.
"Some of the helmets aren't really as padded and don't give you as much protection as others," noted Flynn.
Contact reporter Dianne DeOliveira at Dianne.DeOliveira@townsquaremedia.com