During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month this May the California Highway Patrol and the California Office of Traffic Safety will work together to share an important message: motorcycle safety is just as important to vehicle drivers as it is to motorcyclists.
“Vehicle drivers and motorcyclists share responsibility for creating a safe roadway environment,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Drivers must be aware that motorcycles may be closer than they seem and motorcyclists must always ride defensively.”
California has 862,705 registered motorcycles and more than 1.4 million licensed riders, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Throughout the spring and summer, the number of motorcyclists on the road will increase.
“California is the best state for motorcycling, for both recreation and commuting,” said Rhonda Craft, OTS Director. “To make it the safest state for motorcycling, both riders and drivers need to share the road with awareness and caution for all users.”
Preliminary estimates from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System show the number of collisions involving motorcycles increased in 2014, up more than 4 percent from 2013. The number of people killed in motorcycle-involved collisions increased by nearly 11 percent, from 475 killed in 2013 to 527 killed in 2014.
Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to collisions than other drivers. Motorcyclists can defend themselves by following the rules of the road and wearing protective gear, including a proper helmet. Most collisions occur when a vehicle driver fails to see a motorcyclist and turns left in front of the rider. Motorcyclists can help protect themselves by always using turn signals and avoiding riding in a vehicle’s blind spot.
Since collisions can happen to anyone, regardless of age or experience, the CHP strongly encourages all riders enroll in the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. The CMSP, developed in 1987, graduated its one-millionth student in late 2015. It offers courses for both the novice and experienced rider.
“Through training and continued education, the CMSP’s goal is to make motorcycling safer and more enjoyable while helping to keep motorcyclists from becoming a statistic,” said Commissioner Farrow.
Several activities are planned in communities throughout the state to recognize May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. In addition, the CMSP is conducting a statewide media campaign in May and June with motorcycle safety messages on radio and television, in social media, and on billboards.
The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security to the people of California.