The California Highway Patrol and the Office of Traffic Safety are looking to curb the increase in fatal collisions involving motorcyclists through a month-long motorcycle safety and awareness campaign during May.
There are more than 1.3 million licensed motorcyclists in California, and motorists are likely to be sharing the road with a motorcyclists.
“Regardless of your mode of travel, safety comes first,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “By staying alert and using common sense and courtesy, drivers and riders alike can help create a safer roadway environment for everyone.”
Fatal motorcycle collisions accounted for nearly 16 percent of the total number of fatal collisions in California in 2011, according to CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS).
SWITRS also noted that the number of people killed in motorcycle collisions increased nearly 20 percent from 2010 to 2011. This number increased to 467 people, another 8 percent, between 2011 and 2012.
“Motorcycles riders must be mindful of their skills and vulnerabilities,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “Meanwhile, other drivers must be mindful to always look for motorcycles. Getting home safely involves concentration on driving and consideration for everyone on the road.”
A key component to motorcycle safety is training. CHP encourages all riders to seek lifelong training opportunities. The California Motorcyclist Safety Program, the state’s official motorcycle training program, has more than 130 training sites throughout the state and offers courses for new and returning riders. To enroll in a CMSP course, call 1-877-RIDE-411 or visit www.ca-msp.org.
The CHP and OTS offer these important safety reminders for motorcyclists:
-Wear a helmet and protective gear. “No skin below the chin.”
-Watch your speed.
-Assume people in cars do not see you.
-Try to stay out of blind spots, especially around large trucks.
-Lane splitting is not prohibited if done in a safe and prudent manner.
Reducing the number of motorcycle-involved collisions doesn’t rest purely on the shoulder of motorcyclists. According to the Motor Safety Foundation, more than half of all fatal motorcycle collisions involve another vehicle.
The CHP and OTS offer these tips for driving around motorcyclists:
-Give motorcyclists extra room. A minor rear-end collision could have major consequences for a motorcyclist.
-Look twice for motorcycles. Always double check blind spots and mirrors before merging or changing lanes.
-Passenger vehicles should remain extra vigilant when entering or crossing intersections. Nearly one quarter of all fatal collisions in California occur within an intersection.