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Enforcement Campaign to Target Motorcycle Safety

Santa Barbara police will crack down on dangerous riders and careless motorists

The Santa Barbara Police Department will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on Saturday, Aug. 21.

Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where crashes occur. Officers will be cracking down on traffic violations made by all vehicle operators — motorcyclists and other vehicle drivers — that lead to motorcycle collisions, injuries and fatalities.

Motorcycle fatalities have been on the rise in California, increasing 103 percent from 276 killed in 2000 to 560 killed in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Since October 2009, there have been 25 injuries involving motorcycle collisions, with one involving alcohol.

High-performance “Super Sport” motorcycles are popular with younger riders. These powerful motorcycles make up only 14 percent of the registered motorcycles in California, yet they represent 37 percent of the motorcycles involved in fatal crashes, according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

Super Sport motorcycles are more likely to be crashed in the first year of use than all other types of bikes. This, combined with the fact that riders younger than age 25 who are involved in fatal crashes are less likely to be properly licensed (60 percent compared with 37 percentoverall), indicates that many young riders lack the experience and skills necessary to safely operate these fast, high-horsepower machines.

The Santa Barbara Police Department is encouraging new riders who are purchasing motorcycles to buy a bike that is appropriate for their skill and experience level, to be properly licensed and to seek out professional training that includes risk awareness and risk management.

It is every motorcyclist’s responsibility to be properly licensed and have the skills necessary to ride safely. Riders can get training through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Click here or call 877.743.3411 for more information.

Funding for the program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the NHTSA.

— Sgt. Noel Rivas is the traffic/motors supervisor for the Santa Barbara Police Department.

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