PALM DESERT — Motorcycle deaths accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2015, while motorcycles make up just 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States, according to National Highwaya Traffic Safety Administration.

In 2016, 5,286 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes – a 6% increase from the 4,976 killed in 2015. More than 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in motor vehicle crashes.

Recent data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows there are more than 900,000 registered motorcycles in the state and more than 1.4 million licensed riders.  In 2016, 560 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in California– an 11 percent increase from the 494 killed in 2015. More than 14,400 motorcyclists were injured in motor vehicle crashes.

In order to reduce motorcycle crashes and save lives, Palm Desert Sherriff’s Station and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) are teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this May for the annual Motorcycle Safety Awareness campaign to help save lives on our roadways. The awareness campaign aims to educate vehicle drivers and motorcyclists on how each motorist can be more aware of the other, creating safer roads and saving lives in the process.

Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station will join law enforcement throughout the state to step up enforcement along with awareness efforts to lower motorcycle deaths and injuries during the May campaign. Deputies will have a special emphasis this month on enforcing all traffic violations by both drivers and motorcyclists deploying Saturation Patrols on undisclosed dates throughout the month of May.

Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station has these general tips to drivers on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle:

  • Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, motorist can do their part by sharing the road.
  • Always us a turn signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
    Stay alert, check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Always allow more following distance, follow at a safe distance when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired.

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by following these steps:

  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
  • Ride safely when lane sharing and always proceed at safe speeds.
  • Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
  • Use turn signals at every lane change or turn.
  • Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired.

The Office of Traffic Safety encourages all riders, new and experienced, to enroll in the California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP). The CMSP was developed in July 1987 and has training sites throughout the state. The CMSP trains approximately 60,000 motorcyclists per year and has trained more than 1.1 million motorcycle riders. For more information, or to find a training site near you, visit California Motorcycle Safety Program.

The Motorcycle Safety Saturation Patrols are funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety.


Image Sources

  • Motorcycle: Pixaby