Warmer weather leads to more motorcycles on California roadways and emphasizes the need for all motorists to share the road. During May, recognized as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) will work together to promote roadway safety for motorcycles through education and awareness projects.
Motorcyclist deaths occurred 28 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in a study of 2016 crash data.
“Safe riding practices and cooperation by all users will help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our roadways,” CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “It is especially important for motorists to understand the safety challenges that motorcyclists face because they are often difficult to see.”
“We can all do our part to share the road and look out for one another,” OTS Director Rhonda Craft said. “We are all going places. By keeping our distance, watching our speed and checking blind spots before changing lanes, motorcycles and cars are able to arrive to their destinations safely.”
In 2018, California saw almost 17,000 collisions involving motorcycles, preliminary data from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) shows, with 460 victims killed. Preliminary 2017 SWITRS data shows more than 17,000 collisions involving motorcycles, with 577 victims killed in California. The California Department of Motor Vehicles reports more than 900,000 registered motorcycles in the state and more than 1.4 million licensed riders.
One way the CHP and OTS address the safety challenge is with the Get Educated and Ride Safe (GEARS) program, funded by a $625,000 grant from OTS through NHTSA. All eight CHP Divisions will hold outreach events to promote motorcycle safety during May under the GEARS grant.
As part of its continual motorcycle safety program, the CHP strongly encourages all riders, new and experienced, to enroll in the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP). The CMSP has 107 training sites throughout the state and trains approximately 55,000 motorcyclists per year. For more information or to find a training site near you, visit californiamotorcyclist.com.
“Driving a car and riding a motorcycle require different skills and knowledge. The training provided through CMSP makes the journey safer,” said Commissioner Stanley.
Riders can help protect themselves by always using turn signals, avoiding riding in a vehicle’s blind spot, following the rules of the road, and always riding sober. Wearing an approved U.S. Department of Transportation compliant motorcycle safety helmet and proper protective gear can mean the difference between life and death.
Motorists can also do their part by sharing the road. The majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle collisions are caused when other drivers simply did not see the motorcyclist. Look twice for motorcyclists and leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the rider.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.