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May is Motorcycle Safety month


GREENPORT—The beginning of May marks the start of the motorcycle riding season and kicks off the national Motorcycle Safety Awareness month.

As the weather becomes warmer, an increasing number of motorcycles take to the roads.

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In front of the Columbia County Public Safety Building, Sheriff David P. Bartlett (left) and Roderick Niesen, Jr., point out a motorcycle safety bumper sticker. The sheriff joins with members of ABATE and the East Coast Riders to call attention to the beginning of motorcycle season. Photo contributed

Often people don’t see or are not aware of the motorcycles on the roadway. Unfortunately when someone fails to see a bike, the operator of that motorcycle pays the price, according to a Sheriff’s Office press release.

In 2013 there were 4,668 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This alarming number of deaths accounts for about 10% of the total highway fatalities that year. The number of motorcyclists who were injured during that year was approximately 88,000.

Recognizing this statistical information, the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee provides these safety tips to motorists:

*Be aware of motorcycles sharing our roadways during the riding season

*Yield to motorcycles by not making a quick turn in front of an on-coming motorcycle

*Look twice by checking your mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or negotiating busy intersections

*Be a responsible driver and make sure your vehicle is in safe operating condition and that all your safety equipment is adjusted and functioning properly

*Don’t drive while your ability is impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Safety tips for motorcyclists:

*Obey the speed limit

*Enroll in rider education whether you are a novice or experienced rider

*Before every ride, make sure your machine is in safe operating condition and always wear armored and reflective safety gear including a DOT approved helmet

*Always practice proper lane usage to reduce the risk of being in another driver’s blind spot

*Be aware of your surroundings and always maintain a safety zone

*Don’t ride while your ability is impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Sheriff’s Association membership drive is underway

GREENPORT—The New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute has begun its annual Honorary Membership drive in Columbia County, according to Sheriff David Bartlett.

The New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute, established in 1979, is a not-for-profit corporation, tax exempt organization, and contributions are tax deductible.

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Youngsters who would not otherwise get the chance for a summer vacation are ready to go to the Sheriffs’ Institute’s Summer Camp. Photo contributed

While the Sheriff’s Office is a unit of county government, many of the concerns of sheriffs and other law enforcement agencies are best addressed on a statewide level. The Sheriffs’ Institute provides centralized training programs and services for all Sheriffs’ Offices, where those programs and services that would be unavailable or impractical on a single county basis.

The flagship program of the Sheriffs’ Institute is the Sheriffs’ Summer Camp for economically-challenged children. The Sheriffs’ Camp, in its 40th year of operation, is on Keuka Lake and 840 children from across the state attend each summer. The Sheriffs’ Institute pays the entire cost of the camp stay and transportation. Most children attending wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity for vacation travel or a summer camp experience.

The camp program combines summer recreation with activities designed to teach an understanding of, and respect for, laws and the men and women who enforce them. The strong camper to counselor ratio allows for individual attention with an emphasis on the development of self esteem.

In addition, the Sheriffs’ Institute operates a scholarship program that provides one scholarship to each of New York State’s Community College’s Criminal Justice Programs. This program is designed to help attract the best and the brightest to the criminal justice vocation. For more information about the Sheriffs’ Summer Camp and other Sheriffs’ Institute Programs visit


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