As a national study reports a spike in the number of motorcyclist deaths nationally, an Oneonta woman continues her crusade to boost the safety of riders.
“There are more and more people who are getting motorcycles,” Karen Vagliardo said Sunday. “Everybody’s life matters.”
Vagilardo founded Jason’s Run, an annual motorcycle ride, in memory of her son, who died in a crash in 2008 at the age of 22. She has distributed scores of “Check Twice — Save a Life. Motorcycles are Everywhere!!!” banners, signs and posters to urge motorists to watch for motorcyclists.
On Saturday, about 50 motorcycles and a handful of vehicles set off on the fifth annual Jason’s Run, which started at 11:15 a.m. from the American Legion Post 259 in Oneonta. The group traveled from to American Legion posts in Oneonta to Sidney and Norwich, then to Rockin’ Roadhouse in Mount Upton before returning to Oneonta at about 3:30 p.m.
As a tribute, the group rode past the intersection of state Route 205 and Pony Farm Road in the town of Oneonta where the accident occurred, Vagliardo said. The family maintains a memorial there.
Jason Vagliardo died Sept. 8, 2008, when his motorcycle struck the passenger side of a pickup truck that had turned in front of him. Jason, who had been wearing a helmet, was one of six motorcyclists who died in Otsego and Delaware counties that year.
Motorcyclist deaths have risen from 2,294 in 1998 to a projected 5,027 in 2012, said the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association. New York reported 150 motorcyclist deaths in the first nine months of 2012, up from 145 in the same period in 2011, according to GHSA, which noted that New York was among states with enforcement or education programs that played a role in decreasing or limiting motorcyclist traffic fatalities.
“Yes, the statistics have risen,” Vagliardo said. “But so have the numbers of motorcyclists.”