San Francisco Leads The Way In Motorcycle Safety

Motorcycle riding has long been associated with freedom and rebellion ever since the classic film Easy Rider burst upon the screen.

Easy Rider is a 1969 American independent road drama film written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda, and directed by Hopper. Fonda and Hopper played two bikers who travel through the American Southwest and South carrying the proceeds from a drug deal. The success of Easy Rider helped spark the New Hollywood era of filmmaking during the early 1970s.

Peter Fonda’s American Flag patch, sold for $89,625 in 2007.

The film also encouraged free spirits to take to the road on a motorcycle in abundance.

That is wonderful news., article, pixabay,com photo credit

If only car drivers would take notice of that. Especially in their side mirrors.

“Riding a motorcycle on today’s highways, you have to ride in a very defensive manner. You have to be a good rider and you have to have both hands and both feet on the controls at all times.”…Evel Knievel

Wikipedia reports, “According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2006, 13.10 cars out of 100,000 ended up in fatal crashes. The rate for motorcycles is 72.34 per 100,000 registered motorcycles.

Motorcycles also have a higher fatality rate per unit of distance travelled when compared with automobiles. Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists’ risk of a fatal crash is 35 times greater than a passenger car.

In 2004, figures from the UK Department for Transport indicated that motorcycles have 16 times the rate of serious injuries compared to cars.

A national study by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATS) found that:

  • Motorcycle rider death rates increased among all rider age groups between 1998 and 2000
  • Motorcycle rider deaths were nearly 30 times more than drivers of other vehicles
  • Motorcycle riders aged below 40 are 36 times more likely to be killed than other vehicle operators of the same age.
  • Motorcycle riders aged 40 years and over are around 20 times more likely to be killed than other drivers of that same age.

According to 2005 data from the NHTSA, 4,008 motorcycle riders were killed on United States roads in 2004, an 8% increase from 2003.

During that same period, drivers of automobiles showed a 10% increase in fatalities, while cyclists showed an 8% increase in fatalities. Pedestrians also showed a 10% increase in fatalities. A total of 37,304 automobile occupants were killed on U.S. roads in 2004.

In 1999 there were over four million motorcycles registered in the United States, comprising 2% of all registered vehicles in the US. In that year, 5% of all highway fatalities were motorcycle riders or passengers. One of the main reasons motorcyclists are killed in crashes is the motorcycle provides virtually no protection in a crash. Approximately 80% of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death; a comparable figure for automobiles is about 20 percent.”

Sobering statistics indeed.

It’s one thing to feel bad about that. It’s another thing to do something about it.

As always, the city of San Francisco is ahead of the curve. They are doing something to help reduce motorcycle accidents., article, photo credit

SFMTA Launches Three-Year Motorcycle Education Campaign Pilot, Tuesday, November 22, 2016

San Francisco residents, commuters and visitors will see significant movement toward safe streets as the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) – which manages all surface transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni) – launches a first of its kind Vision Zero education campaign targeting people who ride motorcycles. The campaign is funded by a $188,267 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“People who ride motorcycles are some of the most vulnerable users of our roads,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “To reach our Vision Zero goal, we need to take action to prevent motorcycle crashes from occurring on our streets and this program will help reach this growing population and make sure they are traveling more safely.”

San Francisco is experiencing an increase in motorcycle usage. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 22,853 registered motorcycles in San Francisco in 2014, a 10 percent increase in registered motorcycles over five years. With this increase, San Francisco has seen more motorcycle crashes resulting in injury and death. The Office of Traffic Safety database ranks San Francisco as having the highest fatal collision rate among California cities over 250,000 in population and fifth among all counties in the state. Nearly 20 percent of all traffic fatalities in San Francisco in 2015 involved motorcycles despite them accounting for a small fraction of total road users.

To stem these fatalities, the SFMTA will work in direct partnership with the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) to implement a new citywide education campaign aimed at reducing and ending injuries and deaths among people who ride motorcycles. As part of the city’s Vision Zero Education Strategy, this new campaign will be used to educate the targeted population and implement a spectrum of prevention measures intended to alter individual behaviors that most contribute to crashes, including unsafe speed, unsafe passing and DUI.

“The SFMTA has been taking a data-driven approach to Vision Zero, targeting our engineering improvements and education initiatives on the people and streets in most need,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation, Ed Reiskin. “People riding motorcycles represent a very small amount of our total road users, but account for a disproportionate amount of our traffic deaths. This focused education campaign will bring citywide awareness to this issue and move the needle on making our streets safer for people on motorcycles.”

The campaign was developed in support of Vision Zero, San Francisco’s policy to eliminate all traffic-related deaths by 2024. Every year, about 30 people lose their lives and over 200 more are seriously injured while traveling on city streets. These deaths and injuries are preventable, and San Francisco is committed to stopping further loss of life.

Vision Zero ( – San Francisco adopted Vision Zero as a policy in 2014, committing to build better and safer streets, educate the public on traffic safety, enforce traffic laws, and adopt policy changes that save lives. The result of this collaborative, citywide effort is safer, more livable streets as San Francisco works towards the Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities by 2024. San Francisco is engineering inherently safer streets, enforcing traffic laws more effectively, and targeting traffic-safety education to reach its Vision Zero goals.

Office of Traffic Safety ( – The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) strives to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries. It does this by making available grants to local and state public agencies for programs that help them enforce traffic laws, educate the public in traffic safety, and provide varied and effective means of reducing fatalities, injuries and economic losses from collisions.

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Motorcycle photo credit




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