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Share the road: Police issue safety reminder to protect motorcycle riders

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Toms River police are issuing a safety reminder to New Jersey drivers: Share the road and be aware of your surroundings.

The Toms River Police Motorcycle Unit issued the reminder in order to protect motorcycle riders. From 2012 to 2016 there were nearly 12,000 traffic crashes involving motorcycles, according to the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

“Any time that it gets warmer we’re seeing a lot more accidents because, again, you have a lot more motorcycles on the road,” says Toms River police Sgt. Ron Sermarini.

An 18-year-old died in Toms River in mid-May after crashing his motorcycle. Another rider died in Wantage over Memorial Day weekend.

Sermarini says that everyone should watch out for their surroundings.

"There’s so many distractions within a car…but the cellphone being a big one. It takes away from your focus and a lot of times, all it takes is that split-second that you look down at your phone call or a text and you don't see the stop light or you don't see the stop sign, and an accident occurs,” he says.

To ride a motorcycle in New Jersey one must pass a written and road test. But no safety course is required. The state says 90% of riders who are involved in accidents have had no formal training riding motorcycles – training that some police officers say would be beneficial.

“It’s about defensive driving. Being aware that there’s a lot of cars on the road that may not see you,” Sermarini says. “If they turn left in front of you…you’ve got to be able to react in a split second. So that includes staying focused on the road, operating at a safe speed…and looking out for dangers.”

Motorcycle safety courses are offered throughout the state. Information about these courses can be found on the state website.

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