More and more women are taking control of their own motorcycles, moving up from the passenger on the back seat to driver. But these women face a number of different safety issues.
Female motorcyclists will team up with New York State Police for the fourth annual "G.O. [girls only] Ride" from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 101 Old Falls Street. Registration for the free event is open to female motorcyclists, as well as those who wish to be riders from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Following registration, there will be a police-escorted ride through the city and safety tips. After the ride, there will be a co-ed party with food and music sponsored by Legends Bar and Grill, as well as vendors and informational booths.
G.O. Ride Coordinator Patricia Frederick said female ridership in the United States has grown at least 10 percent over the past few years, and this increase has prompted a need for a safety event specially geared towards these women.
"Women ride differently than men. Men are more aggressive. When we ride, we are more cautious and more aware," Frederick said.
She said the "girls only" event allows women to learn to ride in a group without being intimidated by male drivers. Safety tips are also a big part of the event, and the MAC Street Riders will allow the women to go through their course and practice safety maneuvers.
"Like what happened to [Trooper Arthur Pittman]. Not that any of us could recover like him and still make the arrest," said Frederick of Pittman's brush last month when he was struck on the Niagara Thruway by a man allegedly driving under the influence of drugs. Pittman was patrolling during Artpark's Tuesday in the Park and escaped unharmed.
Pittman, who is on the State Police motorcycle squad, established the event. He said their squad's role is making motorcycle riding safer, and they had noticed a huge influx of female riders. He said that the idea of a female event includes women-specific concerns, such as how to fit a female with a helmet, shoes and other equipment and also driving habits.
Pittman said he will talk the female riders through some techniques they can try in their riding.
"Our mission is a safer riding environment and to get people [to use] defensive driving on the motorcycle," Pittman said.
"We want women to be aware of other drivers and be aware of how we can blend into the asphalt," Frederick said. "You've got to wear bright clothing, and I know most women don't want loud pipes, but if you hear us, you are going to notice us."
"The reason for this party is that I want the women to network and meet other female riders. There is safety in numbers. And the more experience they have, the more information they can pass onto each other," Pittman said.