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CHP drives home important message in 'Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month'

Posted: May 10, 2010 3:20 p.m.
Updated: May 11, 2010 3:17 p.m.
 
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California's traffic safety partners and their supporters are hoping to drive home an important message to all motorists during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a message that just might save a life.

Home to more than 1.2 million licensed motorcyclists, California has seen a decade-long increase in the number of victims killed or injured in motorcycle-involved collisions; according to the CHP's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), a record 586 victims were killed and another 13,252 people were injured in motorcycle-involved crashes throughout the state in 2008.

"Although the statistics are grim, California appears to be on course to see a potential decrease for 2009 in the number of motorcycle fatalities and collisions for the first time in several years," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "While it's encouraging, there's still much more work ahead and challenges to overcome."

Helping CHP get the word out to the motoring public, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is set to display an important traffic safety message, statewide on Caltrans' Changeable Message Signs for the next week: "SAVE A LIFE, LOOK TWICE FOR MOTORCYCLISTS."

"Awareness of motorcycle safety issues is making a difference, both with riders and vehicle drivers," said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. "The Office of Traffic Safety, California Highway Patrol and many others are working together to save lives and prevent injuries of riders throughout the state."

Whether traveling by two, three, four or even 18 wheels it's up to all motorists to help create a safer highway environment by using common sense and courtesy while on the road.

"As a motorcyclist myself, I know the importance of always wearing the right safety gear, especially a helmet, as well as being properly trained," said Robert Gladden, general manager of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. "Whether you've never ridden or are returning to the road after taking a few years, off training is beneficial."

The CHP strongly encourages all riders to sign up for the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) before beginning to ride. CMSP offers the Basic RiderCourse for beginning motorcyclists and Experienced RiderCourses for riders who are interested in improving their skills.

CMSP expects to train 65,000 motorcyclists per year and operates more than 120 training sites throughout California. To find a location nearest you go to ca-msp.org.

Hoping to get everyone thinking motorcycle safety awareness, especially in Southern California, the CHP will be running a public service announcement in movie theaters and on cable channels in the four identified high-risk counties for motorcycle-involved collisions. According to SWITRS these counties include: Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange and San Bernardino.

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