Millions of motorists across California’s busy freeways are getting an important safety message about motorcycles thanks to the California Highway Patrol, the California Office of Traffic Safety and CalTrans. The message to "SHARE THE ROAD LOOK TWICE FOR MOTORCYCLISTS" went up in lights Feb. 11 on approximately 700 changeable message signs, commonly called "Amber Alert" signs. The one-week message will continue to run during commute hours through today.
On the 405 freeway, near the MSF’s Southern California office, where just one of the hundreds of signs is located, it’s estimated that some 250,000 vehicles pass through every day.
"The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, along with many thousands of motorcyclists, applaud the CHP, the Office of Traffic Safety and CalTrans for recognizing the importance of motorcycle safety and for utilizing this very effective medium to promote highway safety," said Robert Gladden, director of program administration for the MSF. "We’ve received a lot of excited calls from riders, media contacts and a variety of people in the motorcycle safety community. We hope that the overwhelming positive response will encourage more motorcycle safety messages like this to be displayed in the future."
It is more important than ever for motorcyclists to be seen by other roadway users. Since 2003, the number of motorcycles owned and used in America grew 19 percent to approximately 10.4 million, according to the 2008 Motorcycle Industry Council Owner Survey. Continuing a trend, that was a 58 percent increase since 1998, estimated then at 6.6 million.
An estimated 25 million people swung a leg over a bike and rode in 2008, the survey said. That’s a 7 percent increase, from 2003, in the number of Americans who ride but may or may not own motorcycles. Motorcycling for Americans has primarily been about recreation and the pure joy of riding. But among the reasons given for motorcycling, transportation climbed to second place in the survey, now ahead of short-distance touring.
Along with encouraging all motorists to look out for motorcyclists, the MSF strongly suggests that riders wear brightly colored, or contrasting, helmets and upper-torso riding gear so that they are more conspicuous in traffic.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation promotes rider safety through rider training systems, operator licensing tests and public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military, and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders can enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling. Standards established by the MSF have been internationally recognized since 1973.
The MSF is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by BMW, BRP, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory, and Yamaha. For RiderCourseSM locations, call (800) 446-9227 or visit msf-usa.org.