The Santa Monica Police Department will deploy additional officers today, June 3 to patrol areas where motorcycle crashes occur as part of a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation.
Officers will be cracking down on traffic violations made by motorcyclists as well as other vehicle drivers that can lead to motorcycle collisions, injuries and fatalities.
Motorcycle fatalities had been on the rise in California, increasing by 175 percent in 10 years, from 204 deaths in 1998 to 560 deaths in 2008.
This trend has reversed and data now shows a 37 percent decrease, to 394 in 2009 and 352 in 2010, which is a positive trend we want to see continue.
California collision data reveals that primary causes of motorcycle-involved crashes include speeding, unsafe turning and impairment due to alcohol and other drugs.
The Santa Monica Police Department is also reminding all motorists to always be alert and watch out for motorcycles, especially when turning and changing lanes.
Some of the reduction in riders killed can be attributed to fewer improperly licensed riders. In 2008, 62.7 percent of motorcycle operators killed under age 25 were not properly licensed. In 2009, that statistic fell to only 45.5 percent.
Riders, young and old, are encouraged to be properly licensed and to seek training and safety information.
“The terrible trend of rising motorcyclist fatalities has been reversed, though there is more that everyone can do to save more lives. Riders and drivers need to respect each other and share the road,” said California Office of Traffic Safety Director, Christopher J. Murphy.
Riders can get training through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Information and training locations are available at www.CA-msp.org or 1-877 RIDE 411 or 1-877-743-3411.
Funding for this operation is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.