California Motorcyclist Safety Program
The CHP presents Thrill or Buzz Kill?, a motorcycle safety video reminding motorcyclists about the added responsibility and attention the road demands.
California Motorcyclist Safety Program (CMSP) - The CHP is statutorily responsible
for California's official motorcycle safety training program. Pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 2930-2935,
the CHP administers the program through a primary contractor, currently the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. As of March
2012, over 800,000 motorcycle riders have received training at one of the CMSP's 134 training sites since the program
began in July 1987.
Data received from the California Office of Traffic Safety shows:
California Motorcycle-Involved Statistics - Between 1986 and 1999, California enjoyed a
13-year decline in motorcycle-involved fatal and severe injury collisions. However, starting in 1999, these numbers
steadily increased over a 10-year period peaking in 2008. It is important to note, however, that according to 2009 and
2010 data, motorcycle-involved fatal and injury collisions are down significantly.
Another conspicuous trend involves the number of motorcyclist fatalities and age. Several groups of riders are over represented, compared to their presence within the motorcycle riding population. For example, a small percentage of the motorcycle operators are riders aged 15-19 (4 percent) and 20-24 (6 percent), yet represent nearly twice that percentage of fatalities (11-13 percent). A second group of riders over represented according to their presence in the population is riders aged 25-54. It should also be noted that 90 percent of the fatal victims are male.
The primary cause for 59 percent of the motorcycle collisions were attributed to three factors: unsafe speed, improper turning, and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Lastly, 65 percent of the fatal and 56 percent of the injury motorcycle-involved collisions were the fault of the motorcyclist.
Motorcycle Helmets - Repeated attempts to repeal California's motorcycle helmet law and substitute it with a lesser version requiring those under 18 to wear a United States Department of Transportation compliant helmet have failed in the state legislature. Statistical information continue to support the helmet law, but some adult riders have been advocating its repeal from the moment the law went into effect on January 1, 1992. Advocates of repeal contend it is a matter of individual choice whether to wear a helmet or not, and a personal right to decide whether to take the risk. The idea that motorcyclists over 21 should be exempt from the requirement for helmets completely ignores some other facts that prompted passage of the helmet law. In 1987, before the law was passed, 77 percent of motorcyclist fatalities involved victims over the age of 21, with 69 percent of those injured over the age of 21.
Motorcycle Safety Grants: The CHP is implementing a 12-month traffic safety grant to reduce
motorcycle-involved collisions on popular roadways and mountain range areas throughout California. To maximize
enforcement efforts, each CHP Division has identified and is concentrating on problematic locations on routes
within their respective Areas, where motorcycle-involved collisions are the highest. Grant activities include
enhanced enforcement, a public awareness and educational campaign, and a paid media campaign has been launched
to show “share the road” Public Service Announcements. The project ends September 30, 2015. The grant is being
disseminated throughout CHP field Divisions between October 1, 2014, and September 30, 2015.