LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Warren County Spokesperson and Traffic Safety Board member Don Lehman said that as of early Friday afternoon, there had been a few minor accidents he was aware of that stemmed from the influx of motorcycles riding the local roads for the Americade motorcycle festival. Not long after he spoke with NEWS10, one more minor incident took place across from the Walmart location on Route 9 in Queensbury.
As Americade’s annual weeklong festival transitions into the weekend – undeniably its busiest days – there are safety factors that Lehman says everyone on highways and rural roads alike should be aware of. That’s true for the motorcyclists entering the community, but also for the four-wheeled vehicles sharing the road with them.
“People need to be aware that they’re going to have a lot of motorcycles around, and that they’re not as visible as cars,” Lehman said. “The old adage is, ‘Look twice, save a life.'”
The suggestions Lehman gives should be followed anytime one is behind the wheel, but the thousands of motorcycles added to the roadways put an underline beneath each suggestion. One is that drivers pulling out of intersections should double-check around them. The smaller a vehicle is, the more well-concealed it can be around a corner. Lehman said that one of the most common things he hears from motorists at crashes is “I didn’t see them.”
Road conditions play their own factor. The week’s weather has mostly been favorable, save for steady rain on Thursday. Rainfall can leave roads slippery and wet, conditions that can be especially dangerous for motorcycles – even moreso when the drivers aren’t totally familiar with the roads.
Rain isn’t the only condition affecting Warren County roads this summer. Another is one that the average driver might not suspect. It comes with unusually leafless trees, sometimes accompanied by an audible crunching in the air. A second bumper crop summer for the invasive spongy moth has led to some sticky situations.
“We’ve seen areas under trees that have been defoliated, you find (spongy moth caterpillar) droppings,” Lehman described. “They get slippery, and that’s caused some hazards. We actually had our DPW people here at the municipal center cleaning up the sidewalk, because they’re everywhere.”
Warren County recommends anyone looking for more safety resources on the road visit the New York State Traffic Safety Committee online. Resources posted there include advisories for drunk and sleep-impaired driving, information on texting while driving, and, or course, more about how to safely share the road with motorcycles.
Last year, Americade was held during the fall, a decision made due to the continuing effects and concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, some caution was expressed regarding an earlier sunset, and some motorists being caught out at night when they wouldn’t expect to. Lehman said that fallen fall foliage can be another catalyst for accidents, but that Americade 2021 – held in September – ran while trees were still largely green.
In an interview on Monday, Americade organizer Christian Dutcher estimated that some of the thousands of motorcycles coming to the Lake George area come from large swaths of the U.S., as well as Canada, now that the border is open for travel again. Americade runs through the weekend, with many of the most popular events sure to bring even more traffic through the Glens Falls region and the lower Adirondacks on Saturday.