BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As the weather starts to warm up, many people are getting out and about to enjoy the fresh air.

But AAA and New York State Police encourage vehicle operators to drive with caution and to share the road. As the temperatures get higher and the sun begins to shine, the sounds of the engines of motorcycles are returning to the road.

“You’re seeing more and more motorcycles being, not only a more popular thing, but you’re seeing them being used on the roadway much more often,” said the New York State Police’s public information officer Trooper James O’Callaghan.

AAA director of public relations Elizabeth Carey explained why they are trying to raise awareness this month.

“Now is when we’re going to see a lot of bikers heading out when the weather turns,” Carey said. “So that’s why we try to raise awareness in May, to let people know this is really important. If you’re driving a car to look out for motorcycles on the road.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 6,000 motorcyclists were killed in 2021. Trooper O’Callaghan said NYSP investigate the highest volume of collisions and fatalities of motorcyclists between Memorial Day and Labor Day — a period of time referred to as “the 100 deadliest days of summer.”

“You would think that (the 100 deadliest days) would happen in the winter months, but people are more cautious when they get into the car if they know the roads are bad,” he said. “But in the summer, people tend to drive a little bit quicker. A lot more vehicles on the road for traveling, and of course then you add motorcycles in on that.”

With rising temperatures these past few days, NYSP responded to multiple motorcycle crashes, including one in Genesee County, where two people riding a bike were seriously injured after the driver lost control, and hit a retaining wall. There was also fatal collision in Alleghany on Monday morning that killed a 21-year-old.

O’Callaghan said motorcycle safety awareness month is crucial and that motorcyclists can help control the outcome.

He also said the things that cause most collisions involving motorcycles are:

  1. Controlling speed
  2. Unsafe lane changes/driver negotiation on curves
  3. Driver inexperience

He also said motorcyclists must be wearing a Department of Transportation-certified helmet, and that NYSP issued 730 helmet violations last year.

Per AAA, motorcyclist fatalities went up 9% between 2020 and 2021. Fatal motorcycle accidents accounted for 14% of all crashes, fatal or otherwise, in 2021 as well.

They offered the following tips for everyone to do their part to safely share the road:

Both Trooper O’Callaghan and AAA officials encourage other drivers to give motorcyclists space, avoid distractions while driving, and to slow down and take the extra look for those riding on two wheels.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.