Delaware Office of Highway Safety Expecting Increase in Motorcycle Traffic for Delmarva Bike Week

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Delaware Department of Highway Safety is warning drivers to be aware of a higher number of motorcyclists during Bike Week (Photo courtesy of Tobias Tullius, Unsplash Media)

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS)The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) along with the Delaware State Police and local law enforcement are jointly working on efforts in anticipation of Delmarva Bike Week, where thousands of motorcyclists are expected to roll into the Delmarva area in conjunction with the Ocean City Maryland BikeFest event. This high visibility enforcement will run from September 14 – September 17, 2023, with a focus on keeping motorcyclists safe and a reminder that everyone has a right to the road and should follow safe riding and driving practices.

To help reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries for motorcyclists, Delaware has updated the helmet law. Effective September 1, 2023, SB 86 requires new riders to wear a helmet and eye protection during the first two years of their motorcycle license endorsement. This is in addition to the current law that requires every adult operating or riding as a passenger to have a helmet in their possession and to wear eye protection. Anyone under the age of 19 must wear a helmet and eye protection while on a motorcycle.

“The Delaware Office of Highway Safety wants to remind Delaware motorists and motorcyclists to see and be seen during this time when we expect to see higher volumes of motorcyclists in the area.” said Sharon Bryson, Director of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety.  “Motorcyclists are vulnerable road users and being responsible, properly equipped, and following the posted speed limits can help reduce the number of rider deaths and injuries. Motorists, please remember to share the road and take the time to look twice for motorcyclists and potentially save a life.”

The most common instances of motorcyclist fatalities are motorists turning left into the path of a motorcyclist, motorcyclists not following posted speed limits, and impaired driving. In 2022, there were 219 crashes and 22 fatalities involving motorcyclists. Failure to yield right of way accounts for 30% of all fatal motorcycle crashes from 2018-2022. As of September 6, 2023, there have been 11 motorcyclist fatalities, of those fatalities, 64% were not wearing helmets.

“The Delaware State Police strives to keep all Delaware citizens and visitors safe,” said Colonel Melissa A. Zebley, Superintendent of the Delaware State Police. “As Delmarva Bike Week approaches, we want to remind all motorcycle riders to prioritize safety by utilizing protective gear, adhering to traffic laws, making themselves visible, avoiding substances that could impair judgment, and ensuring that their motorcycles are in proper working order. To our fellow motorists who share the road with motorcyclists, it is vital that you remain vigilant. Always check your mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles and provide them with the necessary space. A moment of caution can make a significant difference in preventing crashes. Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and our Troopers will encourage safe driving practices during Delmarva Bike Week and beyond. Let’s work together to make our roads safer for everyone, whether on two wheels or four.”

“Numerous agencies are joining forces to help reduce the number of fatalities on our roadways,” said Amy Anthony, Director of the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles. “SB 86 helps protect our new riders. Our motorcycle safety courses provide education and training for riders of all skill levels, but we need you to do your part. Whether you’re in a car, truck, or on a motorcycle, slow down, pay attention, and don’t drive impaired. It’s just not worth the potential loss of life.”

Keep the following tips in mind to help road users Arrive Alive:

Motorists & Riders:

  • Always drive and ride alcohol and drug free.
  • Obey the traffic laws and speed limits to help reduce the severity in the event of a crash.
  • Drive and ride defensively.
  • Lean forward in your seat and take the time to look twice when at a stop, as motorcycles are more difficult to judge speed and distance due to their smaller size.
  • Avoid distractions that place motorcyclists and other road users at risk.
  • While riding, wear high-visibility protective gear, eye protection, and a DOT-compliant motorcycle helmet. Learn how to identify a safe, DOT-compliant helmet at
  • It is important for Motorcyclists to have a legal endorsement and take advantage of training opportunities. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers multiple motorcycle training courses for all riders – novice, experienced and advanced. To explore Driving Courses offered in Delaware and find the right course and location for you, visit:

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