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Bob Kellar: City, sheriff, COC launch motorcycle safety program

Live from City Hall

Posted: May 28, 2009 8:41 p.m.
Updated: May 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
It's a sobering fact. Santa Clarita has seen a 39 percent increase in motorcycle-related accidents since 2007, with five incidents resulting in fatalities. Motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in a traffic collision than someone riding in a passenger car.

Nationally, motorcycle riders were involved in more than one out of 10 of all road fatalities in the United States.

Motorcycle riding can be challenging and exhilarating, but it is also an activity that needs to be taken very seriously. Motorists and motorcycle riders alike need to have respect for one another and the rules of the road, otherwise, the consequences may be catastrophic.

All it takes is a split second of concentration loss or one trick to go wrong to result in a serious collision.

As the weather gets warmer, we are likely to see more motorcycle riders on the roadways. To reduce the number of motorcycle-related accidents and fatalities, the city of Santa Clarita, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station and College of the Canyons recently launched a new motorcycle safety campaign that includes a local motorcycle training and education program and local business rewards.

The five-step program for motorcyclists will help them stay safe on local roads and freeways, while also providing riders who qualify with rewards in the form of discounts at local motorcycle shops.

The five steps, as outlined on the city's Web site at www.santa-clarita.com, include getting certified through a local training center; being aware while riding; reading and learning the rules before riding; visiting participating motorcycle shops to receive discounts upon completion of the training program; and always being mindful of other motorists on the road.

Locally participating businesses include Kawasaki Suzuki of Saugus; Santa Clarita Motorsports; Cycle Gear; Santa Clarita Choppers; Pit Pro; and Riders Performance Motorcycles. Each of these local businesses will provide a discount with purchase of their products to those who receive a motorcycle safety certification from the Nelson Motorcycle Safety program based at College of the Canyons.

Motorcycles have a much smaller profile than other vehicles, which can make it difficult to judge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle. While motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle on the roadway, they are far more at risk than drivers of automobiles.

After a crash, the drivers of vehicles involved often say they never saw the motorcyclist and were unable to respond in time. In the event of a crash, a motorcyclist is much more vulnerable and in much greater physical danger than are other vehicle drivers.

It is estimated that 80 percent of motorcycle crashes injure or kill a motorcycle rider, while just 20 percent of passenger car crashes injure or kill a driver or passenger in the vehicle. We do not want to lose even one more person to a motorcycle accident.

If you are a motorcycle rider or know someone who is, I encourage you to take advantage of this education and reward program.

If we can help motorcyclists ride safely, and avoid excess speeds or unsafe driving practices, we can help them survive their next ride.

Bob Kellar is a Santa Clarita City Councilman. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Live from City Hall" is a column provided to The Signal by the city of Santa Clarita.

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