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Santa Monica Police to Enforce Motorcycle Safety  


By Lookout Staff

April 10, 2012 -- Santa Monica police will crack down on motorcyclists who violate the traffic laws Sunday in an effort to lower deaths and injuries.

The Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation comes less than one month after a motorcyclist died in the hospital after colliding with a 2005 Ford Expedition during a race with another motorcycle on Pico Boulevard. ("Motorcyclist Involved in Santa Monica Accident Dies," March 19, 2012)

During Sunday's operation, extra officers will be patrolling areas "frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur," police said. 

"Officers will be cracking down on traffic violations made by motorcyclist as well as other vehicle drivers that can lead to motorcycle collisions, injuries and fatalities," said Sgt. Richard Lewis, the police department spokesman.

After motorcycle fatalities increased in California by 175 percent -- from 204 deaths in 1998 to 560 deaths in 2008 -- the deaths have dropped by 37 percent to 394 in 2009 and 352 in 2010.

“The terrible trend of rising motorcyclist fatalities has been reversed, though there is more that everyone can do to save more lives," said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. "Riders and drivers need to respect each other and share the road.”

The decrease in riders killed is in part due to fewer improperly licensed riders, state authorities said. 

In 2009, 45.5 percent of motorcycle operators killed under age 25 were not properly licensed, down from 62.7 percent the previous year.

According to authorities the primary causes of motorcycle-involved crashes include speeding, unsafe turning and impairment due to alcohol and other drugs. 

"All motorists should always be alert and watch out for motorcycles, especially when turning and changing lanes," Lewis said.

Riders can get training through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Information and training locations are available at or 1-877 RIDE 411 or 1-877-743-3411.

Funding for the operation is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


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