(WIVB) — May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the New York State DMV is warning everyone about a rise in deadly motorcycle accidents.

Deadly motorcycle crashes in NYS are up 50 percent in 2021 compared to 2019, according to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College.

The ITSMR data revealed there were 198 fatal motorcycle crashes that killed 204 people in 2021. This year, nine people have died and 220 injuries have been reported.

Motorcycle crash deaths made up more than 18 percent of all motor vehicle deaths in NYS last year.

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee provided these tips to stay safe on the roads:

  • Learn  
    More than 90% of riders involved in accidents had no formal training. Take a Motorcycle RiderCourse® to develop good basic riding techniques.
  • Get Licensed  
    Nearly half of all motorcycle riders involved in accidents are unlicensed or improperly licensed.
  • Prepare  
    Wear appropriate gear for comfort and protection.
  • Be Seen  
    Stand out. Wear bright clothing and use retroreflective* material.
  • Be Awake  
    Fatigue and drowsiness can impair a motorcyclist’s ability to react.
  • Plan  
    When riding in a group, determine your route in advance and coordinate it with the other riders.
  • Inspect  
    Conduct a safety inspection of your motorcycle before each ride.
  • Ride Sober  
    Alcohol and other drugs affect judgment and do not mix with motorcycling.
  • Obey the Law 
    Don’t speed; know the local traffic laws and rules of the road.
  • Be Courteous 
    Be considerate on the road; show courtesy and respect to other drivers.
  • Improve  
    Take an Experienced RiderCourse® to sharpen your street-riding strategies and accident-avoidance skills.
  • *Retroreflectivity is the result of light being reflected back to its source on paths which are parallel to those striking the reflector.  This quality is essential for night time visibility.  It operates by making use of the light intensity of vehicle headlights and other light sources, providing visibility without the use of electricity or batteries.

“The rise of fatal motorcycle crashes is a harsh reminder to both motorists and riders that we must share the road responsibly,” said GTSC Chair and DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “The crash data we cite are not just numbers, they are mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. I want everyone to enjoy New York’s beautiful riding season, but to do so safely and responsibly.”

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Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.