John Del Santo mcbwaycool at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 14 18:42:01 PET 2011

John Del Santo

This is an FYI regarding "Motorcycle Checkpoint" information, and an attempt to correct some of the rumors that are flying about.     A checkpoint,  such as in DUI checkpoints are to be held in safe, visible, well-lighted areas where one out of five vehicles are  pulled over and checked. 
  The Motorcycle  Safety Enforcement Operations being funded by NHTSA  and by CA OTS with NHTSA money, are supposed to be held in areas where there is a lot of motorcycle activity and where motorcyclists are often hurt or injured  
 These are NOT "Checkpoints".   They are just normal patroling situations where police are supposed to pull over ANY vehicle that may be doing primary collision factor violations.   This includes motorcycles driving poorly,  AND cars that are making unsafe lane changes,  tailgating motorcycles, etc.     Shown below is a template that is issued by the Office of Traffic Safety OTS to police departments who are receiving NHTSA or CA OTS money.  What happens sometimes,  is that the police department will issue press releases to local newspapers who then improperly list the action as "Checkpoints" , and misuse the info,  as shown on the Hemet newspaper report shown below.  .    In theory, if a police department then stops 96 motorcycles and one car,  they would be following the letter of the law,  but that is not the intent that CA OTS is funding them for.  The intent is to lower motorcyclists being hurt and killed by anyone's
ABATE will be sponsoring a bill later on this year,  intending to prohibit any agency,   Federal, State, or Local,  from conducting Motorcycle Only Checkpoints. much like the Federal ban that is being attempted by Rep. JIm Sensenbrenner (R. Wis).          
Contrary to the Subject line of this email, the Hemet Police Department operation described in the news story is not a “checkpoint.”  A checkpoint is a stationary, high visibility roadblock, with warning signs, lights and cones funneling vehicles to a lane where all vehicles (or a set, objective formula such as every fifth vehicle) are stopped briefly.  The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) funds DUI and DUI/Driver License checkpoints.  We do not fund motorcycle-only checkpoints and we do not fund driver license-only checkpoints. 
Here (pasted below) is the press release template that we provide to police departments who are conducting OTS grant-funded Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operations.   These operations involve police officers driving around conducting regular traffic enforcement.  If they see a violation, they make and enforcement stop of the vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle) and issue a warning,  citation or make an arrest.
In order to increase public awareness about motorcycle safety, we require police departments to issue a press release that not only highlights the grant-funded enforcement operation, but also offers other information about motorcycle safety, licensing and training.  This way the effort and resources reach beyond the few people who are actually stopped during the enforcement operation.
If you compare the press release template to the Hemet PD news story, you will see some information in the news article was pulled directly from the press release, however the part saying “as well as other vehicle drivers” was not included.  We provide the information, but we cannot control exactly what the media reports.  It is our intention that these motorcycle operations target the traffic violations that contribute to motorcycle crashes, whether the violation is made by a motorcycle rider or any other road user.
(from CA Office of Traffic Safety  OTS) 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                 CONTACT:
[DATE RELEASE IS DISTRIBUTED]                                           [NAME]
<City> Police Department Working To Reduce Motorcycle Fatalities
Police to increase enforcement aimed at dangerous riders and careless motorists
The <city> Police Department will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on <date> in an effort to continue lowering deaths and injuries.  Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur.  Officers will cracking down on traffic violations made by motorcyclists as well as other vehicle drivers that can lead to motorcycle collisions, injuries and fatalities.
 [for ALCOHOL /(DUI) grants, insert the following] <looking for drivers and riders who are under the influence of drug or alcohol and>
Motorcycle fatalities had been on the rise in California, increasing 175 percent in 11 years, from 204 killed in 1998 to 560 killed in 2008. That trend has stopped and data shows a 30 percent decrease, to 394 motorcyclists killed in 2009.  Despite this dramatic improvement, California remains one of three states that lead the nation in motorcyclist’s deaths. 
  <Insert your local Motorcycle Crash/Fatality/Injury data>.
California collision data reveals that primary causes of motorcycle-involved crashes include speeding, unsafe turning and impairment due to alcohol and other drugs.  The <city> Police Department is also reminding all motorists to always be alert and watch out for motorcycles, especially when turning and changing lanes.
Another major factor leading to motorcycle crashes is inexperience. Between 2006 and 2008, 58 percent of motorcycle operators killed under age 25 were not properly licensed. Riders, young and old, are encouraged to be properly licensed and to seek training and safety information.  
“Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than others sharing the road,” said California Office of Traffic Safety Director, Christopher J. Murphy. “Motorcyclists require special skills and abilities to reduce their risk of being involved in a crash.”
Rider’s can get training through the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Information and training locations are available at www.CA-msp.org or 1-877 RIDE 411 or 1-877-743-3411.
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 
# # #
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways: 
* Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving 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 mo­torcycle – 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 sec­onds, when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emer­gency. And don’t tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars. 
*Never drive while distracted.  
Motorcyclists can increase their safety by:
* Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers.
*Never driving while impaired.  
* Wearing a DOT-compliant helmet;
* Use your motorcycle’s turn signals; it is California law. Combine hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to yourself.
* Combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves;
* Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions;
* Wearing brightly colored protective gear;
* Using reflective tape and stickers to increase conspicuity; and
The message to all drivers and motorcyclists is: Help to share in the responsibility and do your part by safely “sharing the road.”  


Hemet police to target motorcycle safety next week
 By City News Service, on June 11th, 2011 Motorcyclists with a need for speed and a penchant for taking dangerous shortcuts will be on the Hemet Police Department’s radar next week. 
The Hemet Police Department will conduct a specialized “Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation” on Tuesday in an effort to continue lowering deaths and injuries, said Hemet police Lt. Dean Evans. 
Hemet police will be focusing on motorcycle safety next week. Credit: oregonDOT/Flickr.com/Creative Commons “Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur,” Evans said. 
He cited speeding, unsafe turning and impairment due to alcohol and other drugs as leading factors in motorcycle crashes. Evans also cited inexperience as a major factor in motorcycle crashes. 
“Between 2006 and 2008, 58 percent of motorcycle operators killed under age 25 were not properly licensed,” he said. “Riders, young and old, are encouraged to be properly licensed and to seek training and safety information.” 
California Office of Traffic Safety data show that over the past three years, fatal motorcycle crashes have declined by 30 percent. However, California is still ranked in the top three states in the nation for motorcycle fatalities. 
“Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than others sharing the road,” said OTS Director Christopher Murphy. “Motorcyclists require special skills and abilities to reduce the risk of being involved in a crash.” 
He said the California Motorcyclist Safety program provides extensive training to riders. More information is available at www.CA-msp.org or (877) 743-3411. 
Tuesday’s crackdown is being funded through a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration grant. 

John Del Santo
( 619 ) 223-0421   


  Benjamin Franklin
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