As motorcycle fatalities and injuries have increased in California, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) have stepped up their efforts to promote safety and education, highlighted by May, which is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
In 2013, motorcycle collisions resulted in 475 fatalities and 13,143 injured victims. In 2012, 467 people were killed and 12,617 were injured.
Nationwide, motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all vehicle-related fatalities in 2013, up from about 9 percent in 2004, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.
“Surviving the ride must be foremost in the mind of every motorcyclist. This means taking a motorcycle safety course, wearing the proper gear, using a Department of Transportation compliant helmet and staying alert,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Every vehicle has its place on the road, but motorcyclists face additional dangers because motorcycles require exceptional handling ability and are more difficult to see.”
During the Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, as well as throughout the rest of the year, all road users are reminded to safely "share the road" with motorcyclists and remain on high alert to help keep motorcyclists safe.
Sharing the road is especially important in California, which is home to more than 830,000 registered motorcycles – the most of any state – and more than 1.4 million motorcycle riders.
“Californians increasingly get around by means other than cars and trucks. More are bicycling, walking, taking mass transit and motorcycling,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “That also means that everyone needs to be extra cautious and looking out for everyone else, no matter what their means of transportation is.”
CHP and OTS wants to remind motorcyclists of the following important safety reminders:
- Wear the proper safety gear at all times, including a DOT-compliant helmet
- Obey the speed limit – excess speed is the most common rider-related factor in motorcycle related crashes
- Don’t drink and ride – DUI is a leading cause of motorcycle crashes
- Ride within your own limits – don’t be a victim of peer pressure
- Ride defensively – assume other drivers don’t see you
- Survive the ride