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CHP plans to crack down on motorcycle racers this weekend
With May winding down, the California Highway Patrol plans to rev up efforts one last time to hype motorcycle safety during what’s left of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. On Saturday, CHP officers from the Santa Cruz, San Jose, Monterey and Redwood City areas, along with officers from other police agencies, will descend on coastal area highways to remind motorists, and riders alike, that sharing the road is a year round endeavor. 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. On Saturday, extra police focus will be on mountainous roads that attract "weekend racers." Speeding, unsafe passing and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are the leading contributors to motorcycle collisions, the agency reported. Aimed at reducing the number of major injury and fatal motorcycle collisions, this weekend's crackdown will focus on all types of vehicles and drivers who create unsafe road conditions for motorcyclists, including the riders themselves. Earlier this month, the CHP teamed up with the Scotts Valley Police Department in manning a booth off Highway 1 in Davenport. There, the officers handed out pamphlets and fielded questions about motorcycle safety. Instructors from the local California Motorcycle Safety Program also were there talking up rider safety and education courses for beginners, as well as experienced bikers who are interested in sharpening their skills. Courses are taught at 124 sites statewide. They cost $150 for riders under 21 and $250 for those 21 and up. For information about motorcycle classes, call 1(877) RIDE-411 or visit www.ca-msp.org.
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