May 24 by GJEL Staff

Is lane splitting legal in California?

Many motorcyclists (and automobile) drivers ask whether or not lane splitting in California is legal. In our state, lane splitting is a highly contentious issue that is subject to many misperceptions. Unlike in the majority of U.S. states, lane splitting is legal in California and it has been for a long time. Still, lane splitting is highly misunderstood, by both drivers and bikers.

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Jul 22 by GJEL

California Car Accident Deaths Decline, State Wins Federal Grants

In April, the Department of Transportation reported that 32,788 people were killed in car accidents nationwide last year, the lowest number in 60 years. The statistics were just as impressive in California, which reported 2,715 accident deaths, a 12 percent drop below 2009 figures and the lowest number since World War II, according to the Office of Traffic Safety. The California OTS announced Wednesday that the state is being rewarded $76 million in federal traffic safety grants for this impressive drop in car accident deaths. With budgets tight, California will need to get clever about how to allocate these funds, and will hopefully support initiatives that will improve pedestrian and bicycle safety as well.

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Jul 06 by GJEL

Biker Suffers Fatal Motorcycle Accident During Helmet Protest

The debate on mandatory motorcycle helmet laws is forever complicated by a familiar question: should individuals have the right to put themselves in grave danger? Many motorcycle advocacy organizations say yes, and have become outspoken opponents of motorcycle helmet laws that have passed in 20 states across the country, including California. At a protest involving more than 500 bikers in New York this week, the helmet debate hit a tragic point, when 55-year old Philip Contos, an opponent to the state’s helmet law, suffered a fatal head wound after flying over the handlebars of his motorcycle.

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Jun 27 by GJEL

San Jose Traffic Sensors Could Improve Bike & Motorcycle Safety

We’ve all had moments where it feels like the traffic light will never change to green. Many intersections have sensors underneath the concrete that alert the traffic light when to let cars through. But what happens when your preferred mode of transportation isn’t heavy enough to trip the sensor? That’s the problem for bicycle and motorcycle riders who are too often stranded at intersections, unable to change the light. That could finally change, thanks to a pilot program in San Jose that could lead to more advanced traffic light technology that will sense the presence of a motorcycle, or even a bicycle.

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Jun 15 by GJEL

California Motorcycle Helmet Law Debate

On Monday, we posted the results of a bike helmet safety survey we ran through May is National Bike Month. According to the survey, although nearly 70 percent of cyclists in California say they wear bike helmets most of the time, few think that state law should require them to do so. This holds true for media anecdotes about bike helmets. Last year, for example, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was booed at a bike conference when he announced his support for a statewide law requiring helmets for all cyclists. California’s motorcycle community faces a similar helmet debate that pits safety advocates against riders who demand the right to ride without a helmet, regardless of the risks.

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Jun 07 by GJEL

California Teen Motorcycle Safety Information

Now that summer is here to stay, along with warmer weather and safer road conditions, you can expect to see more motorcyclists taking to the streets for long rides throughout California and across the country. Though a relatively small proportion of motorcyclists are under the age of 18, teens are often the most susceptible to motorcycle injuries and fatalities. If you’re a parent or a teen thinking of getting a motorcycle, it’s important to review the safety statistics related to teens on motorcycles. In addition to taking the safety courses required to get a motorcycle permit, all teens should obey all laws and wear the appropriate safety equipment. Most states, for example, have passed motorcycle helmet laws for all teen riders.

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May 25 by GJEL

California Motorcycle Events Stress Safe Summer Rides

Summer is a great season for motorcyclists. Having more daylight hours and better road conditions assures that motorcyclists can take long drives up the California coastline or through the state’s beautiful forest areas. To help with safety, the California Highway Patrol is hosting a series of motorcycle safety courses throughout the state. One of these motorcycle safety sessions will take place in San Jose on June 4th, and will include a live band, great food, and a vehicle demonstration. But that’s just the beginning of a summer packed with motorcycle events throughout California. Check out motorcycle events calendar for more.

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May 06 by GJEL

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month Targets Motorcycle Accident Injuries

We’ve been writing a lot about National Bike Month. The cycle-centric holiday, hosted by the League of American Cyclists, has placed a large emphasis on increasing ridership and teaching safe cycling behavior to children. And here in California, Sacramento has launched a major monthly program to reduce bicycle accidents. But May isn’t only National Bike Month, it’s also Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Boosting motorcycle safety is essential, especially considering that motorcycle deaths make up a disproportionate 13.2% of all traffic deaths nationwide. So in addition to watching out for bicycle safety this month, stay aware of motorcyclists, and as always, share the road for everyone.

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Apr 21 by GJEL

Drop in Motorcycle Accident Deaths Looks Optimistic

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is clearly doing something right. Earlier this month, the Department of Transportation boasted a major drop in car accident deaths in 2010, the lowest number in more than 60 years. And this week, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that in 2010, motorcycle accident deaths dropped 2% to 4,376, the second straight decline. This is further proof that initiatives on the part of lawmakers and safety advocates to make the roads safer have been successful and should continue. But the GHSA warns that the drop in deaths could overshadow some of the report’s more troubling findings.

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Apr 12 by GJEL

Safety Group Targets Distracted Driving Motorcycle Accidents

As we enter the second full week of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, most of the focus thus far has been on distracted driving for motorists. But while distracted driving led to 6,000 driver deaths and 500,000 driver injuries in 2009, it is a dangerous practice for all types of vehicles, including busses, bicycles, and motorcycles. So to cut down on distracted driving motorcycle accidents, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has announced its full support for Distracted Driving Awareness Month with a list of “10 Things All Car and Truck Drivers Should Know About Motorcycles and Motorcyclists.”

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Apr 11 by GJEL

Distracted Driving Awareness Month: 5 Worst Road Safety States

The GJEL Blog has always kept a close eye on the driver safety laws of each state, with a particular interest in California. Fortunately, the “Golden State” has maintained a record of progressive safety laws, including strict distracted driving laws and penalties for drunk drivers. Other states have been less receptive to driver safety laws, and some have even openly opposed legislation that would save lives and reduce car accident injuries. So in honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we thought it would be useful to highlight the five worst states for road safety based on our research on teen driver and distracted driving laws, drunk driving penalties and statistics, and bicycle safety laws.

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