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Trenton, NJ
Media Contact:
Mike Horan
John Santana
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RELEASE: May 5, 2009

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MVC and Highway Traffic Safety Call on Drivers to Share the Road
Agencies kick off Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month with focus on teen drivers

(HAMILTON) – Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Chief Administrator Sharon A. Harrington and Highway Traffic Safety (HTS) Director Pam Fischer today recognized May as New Jersey Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month with the launch of their “Share the Road with Motorcycles” campaign and an announcement that high school driver education professionals around the state will receive a new motorcycle safety education tool for use in the classroom. The annual, joint public education campaign is funded by a federal transportation grant obtained through HTS and is used to raise awareness of the motorcycle riders traveling New Jersey roadways.

“Focusing on the national Share the Road message, the MVC, HTS and other partners around the country are once again seeking to bring greater attention to this major safety issue,” said Harrington. “What better way to ensure that motorists are aware of the dangers that riders face than by educating drivers at the earliest stage behind the wheel in order to better prepare them for interaction with all types of vehicles on the road.”

Highlighting the educational film “Intersection,” a video produced by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Harrington and Fischer noted the dangers that exist when drivers of cars, trucks and buses don’t pay careful attention to the motorcycles that are sharing roads and highways. The 15-minute video production effectively demonstrates a variety of unsafe scenarios that speak to motorcycle-related crash statistics that are on the rise.

“Whether you are behind the wheel of a car or driving a motorcycle, all New Jersey motorists must be mindful of safely sharing the road,” Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Pam Fischer said. “Motorcycle riders should remain visible, signal when changing lanes, obey all posted speed limits, and never drink and drive. Motor vehicle drivers must allow ample space on the road for motorcycles and always check mirrors and blind spots when changing lanes. Adhering to motor vehicle laws and posted speed limits, and being aware of who is on the road with you, will help ensure the safety of all New Jersey drivers.”

In addition to the DVDs for driver education classrooms, the MVC/HTS campaign will use transit bus and tollbooth signs, electronic billboards, movie theater advertising and Department of Transportation variable message signs to spread the Share the Road with Motorcycles message to motorists traveling New Jersey roadways.

As of March 2009, there are 158,000 registered motorcycles in the State of New Jersey and 310,410 residents who possess either a motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement on their basic driver license. Statistics show that in 2008 there were 80 fatal crashes involving motorcycles, resulting in 82 fatalities. Of that number, 78 were motorcycle drivers, while four individuals were passengers. In 2007, there were 84 motorcycle crashes, resulting in 87 fatalities.

The MVC presently oversees the New Jersey Motorcycle Safety Education Program, which regulates nine not-for-profit and for-profit providers throughout the state who offer comprehensive safety courses for both new and experience riders. Approximately 8,000 riders are trained annually through the program. For more information about motorcycle safety, visit www.njridesafe.org