May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month


‘Share the Road’ Campaign Aims to Increase Motorcycle Safety Awareness for All Road Users

As motorcycle fatalities and injuries have increased in California, story law enforcement and the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) have stepped up their efforts to promote safety and education, discount highlighted by Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May.

Nationwide, order motorcyclists made up 14 percent of all vehicle-related fatalities in 2013, up from about 9 percent in 2004. This was despite motorcycle registrations representing only 3 percent of all vehicles in the United States in 2013, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data. The fatality rate per miles traveled for motorcyclists is 16 times that of car or truck occupants.

In 2013, California’s motorcycle collisions resulted in 475 fatalities and 13,143 injured victims. In 2012, 467 people were killed and 12,617 were injured.

“Motorcyclists are out in force as Californian’s enjoy perfect weather conditions this time of year, which is why May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month,” said Assistant Chief Jim Fryhoff of the Thousand Oaks Police Department. “Fatal crashes with motorcycles are on the rise. We all need to be more aware of motorcyclists in order to save lives.”

During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month – and throughout the year – all road users are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcyclists, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. That message is most important in California, which is home to more than 830,000 registered motorcycles – the most of any state – and more than 1.4 million motorcycle riders.

“Californians increasingly get around by means other than cars and trucks. More are bicycling, walking, taking mass transit and motorcycling,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “That also means that everyone needs to be extra cautious and looking out for everyone else, no matter what their means of transportation is.”

The California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) trains approximately 65,000 motorcyclists every year. As of July 2014, nearly 945,000 motorcycle riders have received training at one of the authorized CMSP training sites since the program began in 1987. For more information or to find a training site near you, go to

Thousand Oaks PD offers tips to drivers on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle:

Driver’s safety reminders:
-Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has all the rights of the road as any other motorist
-Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic
-If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten
-Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding
-Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections
-Lane Sharing is not illegal in California
-Always allow more follow distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
-Never drive distracted or impaired

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by following these steps:
-Wear the proper safety gear at all times, including a DOT-compliant helmet
-Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed
-Excessive speed is the most common rider-related factor in motorcycle related crashes
-Follow at a safe distance – three to four seconds
-Ride within your own limits – don’t be a victim of peer pressure
-Use turn signals at every lane change or turn.
-Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
-Never ride distracted or impaired
-Ride defensively – assume other drivers don’t see you

“By following basic safety rules, we can all help prevent crashes,” concluded Assistant Chief Jim Fryhoff. “Our message is for all drivers and riders: Share the responsibility of keeping our roads safe—always share the road.”

For more information on motorcycle safety, visit


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