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California Highway Patrol: May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Sacramento, CA – With the higher temperatures come more motorcycles hitting the streets and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reminds safety is everyone’s responsibility.

May Is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. According to preliminary data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, last year 476 motorcyclists were killed in traffic collisions and more than 14,000 others were injured. Together the CHP and the California Office of Traffic Safety want to heighten drivers’ awareness to share the roadways and reduce collisions.

CHP San Andreas Unit spokesperson Toby Butzler advises, “We do it in May because that’s when it’s springtime. Everyone’s dusting the bikes off and getting out on the roads. You’ll have a lot of new riders — riders that haven’t ridden for an entire winter and their bikes may not be up to speed yet. Also, the motorists aren’t used to seeing them because you don’t see as many motorcyclists in the winter.” Butzler also reminds motorists to be aware of motorcycles; especially in your blind spots.

The CHP reports the state has about 884,000 registered motorcycles and more than 1.4 million licensed riders. Butzler warns, “This year California made lane splitting legal. I’ve definitely noticed myself more motorcyclists taking advantage of that. So, just because you’re sitting in five mile-per-hour stop-and-go traffic, that doesn’t mean somebody is not going to go flying by you. So, definitely be checking those blind spots before you change lanes.” He notes another key is for motorists not to follow too closely behind a bike.

Regarding riders’ safety measures the CHP provided these rules of the road:

  • Always use turn signals
  • Avoiding riding in a vehicle’s blind spot
  • Always ride sober
  • Wear an approved U.S. Department of Transportation compliant motorcycle safety helmet and proper protective gear as it can mean the difference between life and death.

The CHP also offers motorcycle safety classes, click here for locations.