Strategic Highway Safety Plan in California


Used at Florida Bike Week

Well I am beginning to see what the problem here in California is where Motorcycle awareness is concerned.  It is clear that the State of California does not do nearly enough to promote motorcycle awareness and education.  My research and findings support that, not to mention the fact that in 2009, 321 motorcyclist were killed. The silver lining to this statistic is that it was the first year in 12 consecutive years that motorcycle fatalities were down. 2010 stats are still incomplete but they are certain that there will be a 2% drop. Yet California remains at the top of the list for Motorcycle deaths nationwide.

In 2008 through Federal Funding the Strategic Highway Safety Plan was implemented.  (SHSP) which covered a variety of motorist safety issues.  It targets various issues from engineering to education.  Challenge Teams were set up to gather information. You can find the entire document here.   Motorcycle Safety is located in section 12. This section pinpointed 12 points of action to be taken.  In a report dated 12-31-11  an update of actions list the department, beginning and end date of all actions to be taken and a description. This list is composed of 16 target areas.  You can find the report here in section 12.

It is my opinion that the actions taken are inadequate as I feel they are not consistent in targeting the demographics that need to be reached, and highly ignored reaching the driver and centered on the rider and law enforcement. 12 of the 16 actions are considered as complete with the final action(s) not to be final until 2014. The following are a sample of the actions and comments.

Action Item 5 Completed 06/2008 07/2010

Caltrans Install signs and markings at high crash concentration locations involving motorcycles, that are consistent with the CAMUTCD; remove, relocate, make breakaway or shield fixed objects; consider crashworthy barriers that are more “forgiving” to motorcyclist, or make curve corrections.

SHSP Comments

Caltrans consistently reviews and investigates collision concentrations where they occur on the state highway system and as needed installs safety improvements which provide benefits for all roadway users as well as motorcycles.

As a rider that travels many heavily traveled bike routs in southern California I have NEVER seen a sign or other markings noting a high concentration of motorcycles. Have you?

Action Item 9 Closed item  06/2010 

CHP Develop and implement motorcycle media campaigns such as “Ride like you’re invisible, not invincible!” using a social marketing approach and using new media (YouTube, My Space, etc.)

SHSP Comments:

CHP rolled out its “Share the Road” campaign on April 30, 2009, at the L.A Forum. The event marked the first of many planned events to recognize May Motorcycle Awareness Month.

Action Item 11 End Date 06/2010 CHP Encourage use of approved USDOT helmets. Establish opportunities for helmet exchange and discount certificates towards the purchase of a safer helmet.

SHSP Comments: CHP and Snell Memorial Foundation (SMF) shared a booth at a local event attended by motorcycle riders. SMF successfully exchanged 2 bogus/novelty helmets for SMF/DOT approved full-face helmet.

So is it me or would you also consider this an epic FAIL?

Several states have televised PSA’s like the one here that was done in Idaho. In addition to the PSA,  we need highway signage and further drivers education.  In the 5 DMV sample test I looked at there were questions regarding all modes of transportation, bus, train, bicycles etc.  But not a single question regarding motorcycles.

There is a much more information that can be included here, but for the sake of brevity I will do it another day.  There is only so many pages and graphs one can take in one day… Finally compare California’s program with Texas.  I went to this web page looklearnlive.org  and just read the minutes and was astounded at the difference and the common sense way they have approached this issue.

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