By Chris Genovese
Its Election Day as I write this article, and the beautiful weather we’ve been enjoying is about to regress to the mean. So I’m currently working out the logistics of bringing the bagger in for storage and planning a couple of small Winter DIY projects for the springer. It was a really good long season for my own personal riding, with a little over 7,000 miles ridden between the two bikes (5k on the bagger / 2k on the springer). I know folks that ride a lot more than I do each year, but I’m still inclined to be very grateful for the fact that my wife and I once again escaped without a scratch. However, it’s impossible for me to fully feel that way when far too many riders have carelessly been subjected to injuries and other traumas (or worse!) at the hands of negligent drivers. The stories we hear from our clients and other riders are sometimes shocking and infuriating, and this is why we launched the “Look Before You Left” campaign this past spring.
Since 2012, when Steve represented the surviving family of Kade O’Brien, our goal has been to hold negligent drivers that wreck bikers’ lives accountable. This year’s online petition helped us to raise awareness and support legislation (S6202/A7032) that would raise the stakes for these negligent drivers and provide education for new licensees for topics such as motorcycle safety, school bus safety, work zone safety, road rage, and more. Over 1,700 New York riders, family members, and friends signed our online petition, and we thank each of you for making your voice “heard” – even as our elected leaders have done so much (NY SLEEP Act) to make sure that our motorcycles are not! So, on behalf of everybody at Kantor Law, I’d like to say “thank you” to all of the riders, family and friends that participated in our petition campaign!
Through this process, Steve, Christina, and I were able to interact with thousands of riders, riding groups and clubs, as well as some of our state Assembly and Senate members, about our campaign. Overwhelmingly, I can tell you that these conversations were both positive and supportive of our cause and the legislation. Almost everybody agreed, as the data has shown, that our roads have become far less safe since the pandemic began. Each conversation led to the consensus that something needs to be done about it.
It also felt like we were pretty close or at least moving forward toward success, when the Senate bill quickly moved through the committee stage and then was approved on the Senate floor. We then shifted our focus to the Assembly, where frankly, Creto-Kade’s Law had been previously stalled and ultimately “defeated” twice in the past. So it’s very possible that we were perhaps naively optimistic when Steve Kantor put on a suit and tie and drove across the state to meet with the Chair of the Assembly’s Transportation Committee.
Unfortunately, Steve was informed that, at this time, no new legislation would be considered by the committee that could/would criminalize anything not already “on the books.” Steve pivoted to suggest that riders should/could at least be a little safer if the SLEEP Act was amended to allow for sufficiently “loud” exhaust on motorcycles, he was informed the Chair would look into it.
So we are now left with just the standard cliches to buoy our hopes of safer roads. We’re “going back to the drawing board”, as they used to say. “Taking a step back”, we’ve got the whole winter to plan our next steps and figure out how to make our roads safer and freer for riders in New York. If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that the Kantor Law Firm will NEVER EVER stop advocating for motorcycle riders and their (your) right to safely share the road!