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May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Posted: April 28, 2011 12:49 p.m.
Updated: April 28, 2011 12:49 p.m.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sharing is a concept that a person learns at an early age; it's a concept that can be applied not only to life, but on the highway. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the California Highway Patrol along with its traffic safety partners are reminding all motorists to safely share the road; it may save a life.

Following several years of increases, in 2009, the most recent year for which finalized data from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) is available, the number of people killed and injured in motorcycle-involved collisions dropped. That year in California, 467 people died and 11,488 were injured as a result of a crash involving a motorcycle.

"The drop in overall number of collisions is encouraging, but there is more work to be done," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "All motorists are reminded to be extra alert when on the road to help keep everyone safe."

One of the main reasons motorcyclists are killed in crashes is because the motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection in a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death; a comparable figure for automobiles is about 20 percent.

"Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than passenger vehicle drivers," said Robert Gladden, Vice President of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. "In addition to wearing the proper safety gear, especially a helmet that is certified by its manufacturer to meet DOT specifications, riders are encouraged to enroll in a training course."

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 Basic RiderCourses 2 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

Committed to developing and promoting traffic safety campaigns that help save lives, the CHP uses educational campaigns as an avenue to reach the public with its motorcycle safety message. These campaigns are made possible by grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).

"Increased awareness by everyone on the road will result in greater safety," said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. "Through the continued efforts of law enforcement, traffic safety organizations on every level and the public, we can extend this downward trend in collisions statewide."

Helping the CHP spread the word about motorcycle safety awareness to the motoring public is the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). During May, Caltrans is set to display an important message, statewide on their Changeable Message Signs: Share the Road, Look Twice for Motorcyclists.

"Exercising common sense and courtesy on the road will go a long way in this traffic safety endeavor,"  Commissioner Farrow said.


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