The warming weather and increasing number of vehicles traveling on California’s roadways offer a timely reminder of the importance of motorcycle safety awareness for motorcyclists and motorists alike. By recognizing May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) emphasizes safe riding and driving practices for everyone.
“Motorcyclists who are responsible, informed, and properly equipped can help reduce rider deaths and injuries,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. “Motorists are also key to reducing crashes by being aware of the dangers and challenges of motorcycle riding. Taking the time to look twice for motorcyclists can save a life.”
With more than 1.4 million licensed riders, motorcycles are a popular mode of transportation for Californians, another reason motorcycle safety awareness is paramount. Preliminary data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System show more than 500 people were killed in motorcycle-involved crashes in California in 2020 and more than 11,500 people were injured.
“Motorcycle riders are more vulnerable out in the elements, which is why it is important for drivers to always be mindful of riders,” California Office of Traffic Safety Director Barbara Rooney said.
As part of its continual motorcycle safety program, the CHP strongly encourages all riders, new and experienced, to enroll in the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP). The CMSP has 98 training sites throughout the state and trains approximately 55,000 motorcyclists each year. For more information or to find a training site near you, visit californiamotorcyclist.com or motorcyclesafetyca.com.
Motorcyclists can help protect themselves by always wearing the proper safety gear, including a U.S. Department of Transportation-compliant helmet, observing the speed limit, riding defensively, and always riding sober. Drivers should always look at their mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and always keep a safe distance.
The CHP promotes motorcycle safety with the Get Educated and Ride Safe (GEARS) program, funded by a $750,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. All eight CHP field Divisions will hold outreach events to promote motorcycle safety throughout 2021 under the GEARS grant.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.