Motorcycle & Bicycle Traffic Safety News Conference; Motorcycle & Bicycle Rider Safety Demonstrations; and, Static Display NA12103ne

May 3, 2012

The Los Angeles Police Department and its partners Promotes “Sharing the Road” During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and National Bicycle Safety Month.   

Monday, May 7, 2012
4:30 a.m. – Motorcycle, Bicycle Course Set-up; Safety Equipment & Static Display Set-up.
5:00 to 8:15 a.m. – Motorcycle & Bicycle Safety Road Course Demonstrations.  Accessible to media for filming and interviews.

LAPD, Valley Traffic Division, Operations-Valley Bureau
7870 Nollan Place
Panorama City, CA 91402

Councilman Dennis P. Zine, City of Los Angeles, 3rd District
Councilman Richard Alarcon, City of Los Angeles, 7th District
Chief Scott LaChasse, Burbank Police Department
Deputy Chief Hector Rodriguez, Chief of Police, Los Angeles School Police
Commander Jim Cansler, Assistant Commanding Officer, Operations-Valley Bureau
Captain Ivan Minsal, Commanding Officer, Valley Traffic Division
Captain Brenda Crump, Commanding Officer, West Traffic Division
Captain Ann Young, Commanding Officer, Central Traffic Division
Captain Ronald Marbrey, Commanding Officer, South Traffic Division
Lieutenant Manuel Romeral, Officer in Charge, Special Enforcement Section
Lieutenant Kevin Gordon, California Highway Patrol, West Valley
Pat Hines, Founder/Executive Director, Safe Moves
Sergeant Arturo Gomez, Valley Traffic Division (Coordinator)
Valley Traffic Division, Community Traffic Services Officers

In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available from Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, 361 people died in California and nearly 11,000 others were injured as a result of a crash involving a motorcycle.  

In response, the Los Angeles Police Department announced today that it is joining with other, state and local highway safety, law enforcement, and motorcycle organizations in proclaiming May as “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.” During this time – and during the rest of the year – motorists and other road users are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcycles, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe.  Changing the driving habits of motorists and motorcyclists alike will help decrease the numbers of motorcyclist killed and injured in crashes. Motorcyclists are reminded to make sure that they are visible to motorists, and that they follow the rules of the road.  All road users are reminded to never drive, ride, walk or bicycle while distracted.

“As the weather improves, more and more motorcyclists are hitting the roads,” said Captain Ivan Minsal. “And with that in mind, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers of all vehicles, including SUVs, passenger cars and trucks, need to be extra attentive and make sure they ‘share the road.’  A motorcycle is one of the smallest vehicles on our roads, often hidden in a car or truck’s blind spot. Every driver needs to aggressively look for them before changing lanes or merging with traffic.”

Motorists and bicyclists should perform visual checks for motorcyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots before they enter or exit a lane of traffic, and at intersections.  Pedestrians should also get into the habit of scanning for motorcyclists who might be hidden by other traffic.

Captain Minsal reminds all road users that, “Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too.” “They should obey traffic rules, be alert to other drivers, never ride while impaired or distracted, and always wear a Department of Transportation-compliant helmet and other protective gear.”

Captain Minsal said that a motorcyclist is much more vulnerable than a passenger vehicle occupant in the event of a crash.  He said that research from DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 39 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in traffic crashes.
Councilman Richard Alarcon offered tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways.

Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle.
Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width – never try to share a lane.
Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a mo-torcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
Allow more following distance – three or four sec-onds – when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emer-gency.
Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
Never drive while distracted. 

Councilman Dennis Zine said motorcyclists can increase their safety by:

Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions;
Wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-compliant helmet;
Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it;
Combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves;
Using reflective tape and stickers to increase conspicuity;
Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers; and
Never driving while impaired.  

Captain Minsal offered tips for drivers to help keep bicyclists safe on our roadways.

Maintain control of your bicycle.
Protect yourself – reduce the risk of head injury by always wearing a helmet.
Be visible, alert, and communicate your intentions.
Ride with traffic.

Our message to all drivers, bicyclists and motorcyclists is: Help to share in the responsibility of keeping all road users safe, and do your part by safely “sharing the road.”
For additional information and/or questions relative to the media event, please contact Sergeant Arturo Gomez at (805) 559-9637.