The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has declared the month of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. In support of Motorcycle Safety Awareness, the Los Angeles Police Department will deploy extra officers throughout the month to patrol areas frequented by motorcyclists and to crack down on traffic violations made by motorcyclists and other vehicle drivers that lead to deadly and injury related motorcycle traffic collisions.
Warm weather is fast approaching, gas prices continue to increase and motorcycle enthusiasts take to the streets. There are over four million motorcycles registered in the United States. The popularity of this mode of transportation is attributed to the low initial cost of owning a motorcycle and its use as a pleasure vehicle. All motorists and other road users are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcycles and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe.
Motorcyclists are reminded to make themselves visible to other motorists. Recent data indicates that deaths and injuries attributed to motorcycle collisions are becoming a larger portion of a grave public health problem. Motorcycle crash-related fatalities have been increasing since 1997. The latest vehicle mile travel data show motorcyclists are about 27 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic collision and six times as likely to be injured.
Motorcycle fatalities steadily increased in California during the years 1998-2008, increasing 175 percent over that 10 year period; 204 fatalities in 1998 to 560 in 2008. That trend has stopped for now and data shows a 30 percent decrease in 2009 to 394 motorcyclists’ deaths. Despite this dramatic improvement, California remains one of three states that lead the nation in motorcyclist deaths.
If you are new to riding or haven’t ridden a motorcycle in awhile, the Los Angeles Police Department strongly encourages you to attend a California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Information on this program is available at www.CA-msp.org or 1-877 RIDE 411 or 1-877-743-3411.