LBPD To Conduct Second Specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on Saturday

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Photo by Nathan Fixler

The Long Beach Police Department will be conducting a second specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on Saturday, July 28, 2012, in an effort to continue lowering deaths and injuries. Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur. Officers will be looking for drivers and riders who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and cracking down on traffic violations made by motorcyclists as well as other vehicle drivers that can lead to motorcycle collisions, injuries and fatalities.

While motorcycle fatalities had been on the rise in California, increasing 175% in the last decade and killing 204 in 1998 and 560 in 2008, the trend changed in 2009. In that year, California experienced a 29.6% reduction with 394 motorcyclists killed, and the preliminary 2010 numbers indicating another 10% drop to 353 motorcyclists killed. In 2010, 5 motorcyclists were killed in the City of Long Beach, with 132 motorcyclists being injured. In 2011, the number of motorcycle fatalities remained at 5, but the number of injuries increased by 15.9% with 153 motorcyclists injured. So far in 2012, there have been 4 motorcycle fatalities in Long Beach.

California collision data reveals that primary causes of motorcycle-involved crashes include speeding, unsafe turning, and impairment due to alcohol and/or drugs. The Long Beach 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 may be attributable to fewer improperly licensed riders. In 2008, 62.7% of motorcycle operators killed under age 25 were not properly licensed. In 2009, that statistic fell to only 45.5%. 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.

The last specialized Motorcycle Safety Operation that L.B.P.D. conducted was on Saturday, June 30, 2012. Four motorcycle officers were assigned to the operation to enhance motorcycle enforcement throughout the city. During the operation, the officers produced the following statistics:

  • 15 helmet violations
  • 10 motorcycle equipment violations
  • 3 motorcycle moving violations
  • 1 motorcycle license endorsement violation
  • 20 vehicle moving violations
  • 1 motorcycle impounded

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

TRAFFIC SAFETY TIPS

Tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways:

  • Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before making a lane change and at intersections
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic
  • Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a mo­torcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
  • Allow more following distance, at least three or four sec­onds, when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emer­gency. Do not tailgate, in dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
  • Never drive while distracted

As a motorcyclist, you can increase your safety by practicing the following tips:

  • Position motorcycle in the lane where you will be most visible to other drivers
  • Never drive while impaired
  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet
  • Use the motorcycle’s turn signals (it is California law)
  • Combine hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to the motorcycle
  • Avoid riding in poor weather conditions
  • Wear bright colored protective gear and use reflective tape and stickers so you and your motorcycle standout

The message to all drivers and motorcyclists is … help to share in the responsibility and do your part by safely “sharing the road.”

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