Motorcycle Fatalities in California Declined in 2009

Encouraging figures were recently provided by the NHTSA, showing that motorcycle fatalities have decreased significantly in the first six months of 2009 in California. According to an official statement, 198 persons were killed in motorcycle related crashes from January through June of 2009, compared to 264 for the same period in 2008.

The results are even more gratifying, as motorcycle-related fatalities have continued to increase in the last three years in California, while overall traffic fatalities has seen declines.

"We have really been working at encouraging riders to get training through the California Motorcyclist Safety Training Program (CMSP), no matter what their age or experience," said Joe Farrow, California Highway Patrol Commissioner. "Our efforts are paying off as 2008 saw the most students trained in any year since the beginning of the CMSP. While I'm encouraged by the good news, I can't stress enough the importance of proper training, proper licensing, and alert driving to keep riders and motorists alive on our roadways."

Officials say the decline was thanks to several actions and programs conducted in recent years, encouraging drivers to be more aware of motorcyclists and urging the latter to ride more safely.

Research had also shown that that 37 percent of riders killed were not properly licensed for motorcycles. In addition, 70 percent of fatal crashes involving motorcycles were found to be the rider’s fault and 38 percent of motorcyclists killed were riding a supersport bike.

"We hope that increased awareness of the problem has produced a greater safety mindset among motorcycle riders and all who share the road,"
said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). "Welcome as these numbers are, they would only return us to 2004 levels if they continue through the year. That's still more than double 1998 levels. We can't let up on the effort."
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