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State aims to cut motorcycle crashes

POSTED: October 19, 2009 6:28 p.m.

The Georgia State Patrol and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety announced a new safety education initiative aimed at reducing the number of motorcycle crashes across Georgia. The project was announced at the First Army Commander’s Motorcycle Safety Rally at Fort Gillem.

Major Mark McDonough, commanding officer of the Georgia State Patrol, said state troopers assigned to the Safety Education Unit will immediately begin incorporating motorcycle safety information as part of their safety presentations at schools, civic clubs, and other organizations. The safety program is being offered at military bases across Georgia.

“Despite an overall reduction in the number of traffic deaths across the state over the past few years, the number of motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes continues to rise and this safety initiative is one component of our combined efforts to educate not only motorcycle operators but other drivers as well,” McDonough said.

The safety education program was developed in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Spencer Moore, deputy director of GOHS, said education is the key.

“Now more than ever, it is essential that we keep our eyes on the prize when it comes to motorcycle safety.  Unfortunately, Georgia has experienced a steady increase in motorcycle fatalities in recent years,” he said. “Just in 2007, 162 motorcyclists died on Georgia roads and another 3,334 were injured. I know that with the help of the rider groups, law enforcement agencies across the state, and other traffic safety organizations, we can make those numbers go down.

McDonough said the number of motorcycles being registered in Georgia has risen significantly since 2005 when the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina triggered higher gasoline prices.  

“As more people looked to save money, the motorcycle became the vehicle of choice,” he said. “We have seen the number of motorcyclists killed in crashes also increase at an alarming rate.”

If you would like to schedule a motorcycle safety presentation for a civic group, contact the Georgia State Patrol Safety Education Unit at (770) 229-3422.

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