ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Safety officials are sounding the alarm on motorcycle safety, reminding riders of the risk they take when hitting the road.

“They need to be cognizant and they need to slow down,” Elmira Traffic Safety Sgt. Chris Zelko said. “Things happen on the road very quickly.”

The warning comes amid a serious crash in Horseheads; a 52-year-old man was airlifted to the hospital Thursday morning after he struck a deer while riding his motorcycle on State Route 225 in Caton.

According to AAA, motorcyclists are 27-times more likely to die in an accident. The majority of crashes take place in July and August.

“In a vehicle, you’re a lot more safe, you have your airbags and seat belts that you just don’t have on a motorcycle,” Zelko said.

Speed can be a major contributor to an accident. According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, 33-percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were going too fast.

“If they don’t give themselves that reaction time, obviously things can turn fatal or very serious,” Zelko told 18 News.

Safety experts highly recommend wearing protective equipment when riding. In New York State, motorcyclists are required to wear helmets and proper eye protection.

“You always wanna be prepared for going down and every bit of protective gear you can put on makes a difference,” General Manager of Southern Tier Honda Jared Howe said.

When it comes to those traveling by car, the NHTSA and AAA urge all drivers to slow down, watch for motorcyclists and provide enough distance between them and the rider.