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San Francisco Launches Third Year of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Campaign

Friday, May 31, 2019

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) today announced the launch of the third year of a Motorcycle Safety Awareness campaign aimed at people who ride motorcycles. This campaign is part of the City’s overall commitment to the Vision Zero policy, which aims to eliminate all traffic deaths in San Francisco.

The campaign is funded by a $100,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The campaign will, according to Supervisor Shamann Walton, “respond to previous feedback from Motorcycle Safety Ambassadors, the motorcycle community and will provide equipment trainings and off-road practice in this 3rd year of the safety pilot. The Motorcycle Safety SF pilot is an important part of our Vision Zero equity efforts to address vulnerable road users and as an active member of the motorcycle community, I look forward to the increased awareness in our city around safe motorcycle riding.”

Motorcyclists are one of San Francisco’s vulnerable road users – while they make up only two percent of road users, motorcyclists account for 20 percent of traffic collisions.

“With Vision Zero, our message is that traffic deaths aren’t just preventable, they are unacceptable,” said Ed Reiskin, the SFMTA Director of Transportation. “Campaigns like Motorcycle Safety SF remind us what it takes to be safe on our streets and ultimately eliminate these tragic fatalities. Since this safety pilot was launched two years ago motorcycle injuries have decreased by 12 percent and motorcycle fatalities have gone down by 50 percent when compared to the year before the program began.”

The first year of the campaign produced six Motorcycle Safety Ambassador trainings around the city, a series of motorcycle safety materials available at motorcycle shops and clubs, and a San Francisco-specific motorcycle safety video that is a valuable tool for riders, both new and seasoned.

In the second year of the campaign the SFMTA continued the Motorcycle Safety Ambassador trainings in partnership with local motorcycle shops and clubs as well as law enforcement; motorcycle safety ads were launched on Muni vehicles and six short safety videos were created to be shared on social media.

The program’s third year will build off the success of the last two years. San Francisco motocycle riders and residents will notice bus and light rail ads on Muni vehicles throughout the city again; a targeted social media campaign, outreach to motorcycle shops, clubs, riders and hands on equipment trainings with off-road practice for riders.

“Motorcycle riders are out in the open and are harder to see,” San Francisco Police Department Commander Teresa Ewins said. “Drivers and motorcycle riders should take extra precautions by keeping their distance and watching their speed, we want everyone to be safe while moving on our roadways”

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 severe 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 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in San Francisco so far in 2017 involved motorcycles despite them accounting for a small fraction of total road users.

To stop these fatalities, the SFMTA will continue to work in direct partnership with the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) to implement a 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 campaign will be used to educate motorcycle users 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 campaign was developed in support of Vision Zero, San Francisco’s policy to eliminate all traffic-related deaths. Every year, about 30 people lose their lives and over 500 more are severely injured while traveling on city streets. These deaths and injuries are preventable and San Francisco is committed to stopping further loss of life.