VENTURA, Calif. - The month of May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
According to the Ventura Police Department, motorcycle crashes have gone up nearly 17 percent since 2015.
To help bring that number down, Ventura Police plan to beef up their enforcement by stopping drivers and motorcycle riders for traffic violations that increase the risk of crashes.
The statistics are not just referring to crashes, but also fatalities. Over the last two years 50 percent of Ventura’s fatal collisions involved motorcycles. Half of those were DUI related.
“Driving under the influence of alcohol attributes to a lot of the collisions rates and fatalities,” said Sergeant Mike Brown, with the Ventura Police Department. “2017 highway study showed that 27 percent of motorcycle fatalities were attributed to alcohol related collisions and was the highest out of very vehicle category.”
The Ventura Police Department offers the best safety practices for drivers and motorcycle riders:
• Check your mirrors and blind spots. Make sure your vehicle's rear and side-view mirrors are adjusted properly.
• Use your signal when changing lanes. If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, make sure the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
• Slow down behind motorcycles and keep your distance.
• Never share a lane with a motorcycle.
• Be aware of motorcycles lane splitting, which is legal. Give riders enough room to pass.
• Always look twice at intersections and allow enough space for a motorcycle to clear the roadway before making a turn.
• Always wear a helmet, bright colors and protective gear.
• Use your turn signal at every lane change or turn.
• Turn lights on even during the day.
• Keep your distance.
• Consider the width of lanes, roadway and weather conditions when lane splitting
.• Avoid lane splitting next to larger vehicles such as big rigs, buses and motor homes.
• It is more dangerous to split lanes at higher speeds. It is safer to split between the far-left lanes.
The Ventura Police Department encourages all motorcycle riders, new and experienced, to enroll in the California Highway Patrol's motorcycle training course.
For more information, or to find a training site near you, visit ttp://www.californiamotorcyclist.com.
Funding for motorcycle safety enforcement is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.