ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The sounds of summer include motorcyclists enjoying the open road, but the dangers remain high. There’s a little-known connection between your lawn maintenance and improved safety for bikers. 

Trooper Lynnea Crane with New York State Police Troop E says leaving grass clippings or any other form of debris in the roadway can be like hitting black ice for riders. Hitting such a spot in the road could have detrimental consequences, she explained, and possibly even deadly. 

“A lot of police officers will contact homeowners or the person whose blowing grass into the roadway and just let them know they need to remove it.”

If the debris isn’t removed, Crane says you could be ticketed. In New York State, it is illegal to leave debris in the road. 

Mark Gruba, a communications specialist with AAA, said there are more registered motorcyclists on the road now than ever before. Statistics from AAA show the number of registered motorcycles on the road rose over the last decade, doubling from 4.3 million in 2002 to 8.6 million in 2021. With that, there’s also been a sharp rise in fatal crashes involving motorcyclists. 

“In 2021, nearly 6,000 people were killed in fatal motorcycle crashes across the country. That’s the highest number since 1975.” He went on, “Collectively, we need to do better.”

That’s why the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office takes their motorcycle training seriously. Monday, they continued their annual master class for law enforcement personnel across the region. 

“We’re in day six of our two-week motorcycle school we offer to all law enforcement agencies in all Western New York,” Sgt. Matthew Mackenzie with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office explained. 

According to Mackenzie, debris in the roadway is a huge problem for law enforcement personnel.

“Actually, one of the leading causes of motorcycle crashes nationwide is for law enforcement officers is surface appraisal,” he says, “and that’s being able to see the debris, or the fluid on the road before you put yourself in a bad situation.”

While motorcyclists face a number of dangers each summer, from debris in the road to other drivers not paying attention— he said his biggest concern is speed.

“I will say speed no matter where for motorcycles is the leading cause crashes.”

Mackenzie advises riders in a tough situation to slow down and keep their eyes on the road. 

“You look ten to twelve second down the road, and you see that car preparing to turn left in front of you; what are you going to do?”

Officials on Monday told News 8, they want everyone to have fun riding, but remind motorcyclists to do so safely. That includes wearing a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation: AAA recommends looking for “DOT” printed on the back. Not wearing a helmet is also illegal in New York State.