May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
To commemorate and to improve traffic safety for motorcyclists, the Capitola Police Department, assisted by the California Highway Patrol, will crack down on riders, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians who aren’t obeying traffic laws.
On weekends and holidays from May 18 through May 31, officers will focus on strictly enforcing those laws in the Capitola Village.
That enforcement also will include DUI checkpoints and enforcement saturation patrols, as well as deploying decoy patrol cars and radar speed trailers in an attempt to calm traffic.
California is home to more than 1.2 million licensed motorcycle riders, and thousands are involved in collisions that cause hundreds to die, according to the CHP.
Statewide 465 motorcyclists were killed and 11,172 were injured in crashes in 2007, the most recent date statistics were available. That’s up substantially from 2004, when 350 riders were killed and 9,488 were injured in traffic collisions.
Locally, two motorcyclists were killed and 85 were injured in the 100 collisions that were logged in 2004. Twenty-one of those collisions resulted in property damage only.
Meanwhile, in 2007, of the 154 rider-involved collisions in Santa Cruz County, two motorcyclists died, 123 others were injured and 26 resulted in property damage only.
These collisions could be avoided if people would obey traffic laws, increase their awareness of the things going on around them and share the road, CHP officials said.
The CHP had planned a BADGES – Before Aggressive Driving Gets Everyone Stopped – campaign Tuesday to promote rider safety and educate drivers about sharing the road with motorcyclists, but the wet weather forced the department to cancel the event.
Officials encourage all riders to participate in the California Motorcyclist Safety Program before hitting the road. The program offers courses for beginners, as well as experienced riders who are interested in sharpening their skills.
Courses are taught at 124 sites statewide. The cost is $150 for riders under 21 and $250 for those 21 and up.
For information, call 1(877) RIDE-411 or visit www.ca-msp.org.