Motorcyclist deaths in California have risen 20 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to California Highway Patrol preliminary data released on Thursday.
The increase reverses a two-year decline in fatal motorcycle accidents, and CHP is asking the public to be extra vigilant of motorcycles on the road to prevent future tragedies.
“Everyone on the highway plays an important role in preventing collisions,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow in a statement. “Motorcyclists are encouraged to ride safely and defensively, while drivers need to look out for motorcyclists who are sharing the road.”
On Oct. 16, a Mini Cooper on I-405 near the Venice Boulevard exit swerved into the carpool lane and slammed into motorcyclist Gen Okada, 47, who died at the scene. The driver fled the collision and CHP are searching for the suspect, described as a man in his 40s with a short, closely cropped beard, who is wanted for felony hit-and-run.
California is home to over one million motorcyclists, and most deadly accidents involving motorcycles and cars occur at intersections – many when drivers are making a left-hand turn at a traffic light.
CHP also suggests that motorcyclists wear proper gear to minimize risk injury and to respect posted speed limits. It also encourages riders to sign up for safety courses to sharpen their skills. Visit www.ca-msp.org for more info.
“Even though the fall and winter months are upon us, areas of California have optimum riding weather year round,” Farrow said. “Remember, whether you drive or ride highway safety is a shared responsibility.”