Proper riding attire and training are two of the most important things a motorcyclist can have before he or she hits the road.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local law enforcement officials will team up Sunday to promote motorcycle safety as part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Davenport."We’re going to push the idea of wearing protective gear and making sure it’s in good repair," said Officer Hugh Holden, public information officer with the California Highway Patrol. That gear includes a helmet, gloves, shoes or boots, a sturdy jacket, and leg covering, such as leather chaps, said the officer who often sees riders in shorts and sandals on the road. "If they go down, they’re going to need a skin graft from all over their body," he said. He also noted the importance of riders having a license from the Department of Motor Vehicles. A motorcycle driver’s license costs $28, according to the DMV. However, the cost of getting caught riding without the proper license can be very costly, Holden said. Not only would they have the ticket they were pulled over for, such as speeding, they also would receive a citation for driving out of class, such as with a license that allows them to drive a car, plus the cost of getting their bike out of impound, he said. The bigger picture for riders is that lives are lost in traffic collisions involving motorcyclists. California has more than 1.2 million licensed motorcycle riders, according to the CHP. Thousands are involved in collisions that kill. Preliminary statistics for 2008 show that more than 500 riders were killed statewide, seven of them died here in Santa Cruz County, Holden reported. That’s up from 2007, when 465 motorcyclists were killed in the state. Two of the deaths occurred locally, statistics showed. Sunday’s event outside the Whale City Bakery Bar & Grill on Highway 1 at Ocean Street will feature a biker safety video by the CHP and information about the California Motorcycle Safety Program, which offers rider education courses for beginners, as well as experienced bikers 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. "I know a few people who have gone through it and they say it’s a must-do for first timers," said Lt. John Hohmann of the Scotts Valley Police Department. He, too, will be working the information booth. "Plus, if people take the course it makes it easier for them to get their (motorcycle driver’s) license." For information about motorcycle classes, call 1(877) RIDE-411 or visit www.ca-msp.org. If you go Motorcycle Safety Awareness Booth When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, May 17 Where: Whale City Bakery Bar & Grill, Highway 1 at Ocean Street, Davenport What to expect: Motorcycle safety video, statistics, materials, and class information Event information: Officer Hugh Holden, 662-0511