On September 15, 2013, there were two fatal motorcycle accidents in the Hudson Valley. On Bear Mountain Parkway in Cortlandt, 43 year old Christopher Ulacco of Wappingers Falls was killed while on a 2008 Suzuki after he apparently crossed the double yellow line and struck a GMC Acadia on Route 6 near Carhart Avenue. Police are seeking information from another rider who was with Mr. Ulacco at the time of the fatal crash. Ulacco was wearing a helmet. There were several other injuries in the accident, with most of the injured taken to Hudson Valley Hospital for treatment.
In the second accident, 76 year old Julio Gamio was driving north at 11:00 AM on September 15th on Route 9W in Haverstraw, followed on another motorcycle by his daughter, when it appears that he lost control of his Harley Davidson Softail Cruiser and struck a 20 foot brick structure adjacent to Low Tor Storage at 120 Route 9W in Haverstraw. Gamio suffered multiple head and internal injuries and was pronounced dead at Nyack Hospital. Witnesses described Gamio driving into the wall, bouncing and hitting the pavement. The cause of the Gamio accident is under investigation.
Bear Mountain Parkway is a well known destination for motorcyclists, with its combination of winding and scenic roads, particularly in the fall when the foliage can be spectacular. On an annual basis, approximately 317 riders are injured in the Hudson Valley, and 11 motorcyclists are killed, according to the New York State DMV. Motorcycle fatalities have increased annually for the last fourteen years, with the exception of 2009, when there was a decrease of 16 percent. Interestingly, according to a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, motorcycle fatalities are one of the few categories of highway safety in which strides are not being made. One reason is undoubtedly the inconsistent use of helmets by many riders around the country. In fact, on a recent trip I made to take my son to college, I observed a large majority of riders throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio not utilizing helmets. Helmets prevented approximately 1,600 motorcycle deaths in 2011 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
NHTSA also reports that there were 4,612 motorcyclists killed in accidents on U.S. highways in 2011, which was 2% higher than in 2010. Motorcycle deaths accounted for 14% of all highway deaths in 2011, even though motorcycle registrations comprise only 3% of all vehicles on the road. Motorcyclists are killed 30 times more than occupants of cars, and are five times more likely to be injured.