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P.O. Box 160
Trenton, NJ
Media Contact:
Mike Horan
(609) 292-5203
Maureen Sczpanski (HTS)
(609) 984-2529
Public Information:
(888) 486-3339
RELEASE: April 29, 2010

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Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Officials Mark the Start of
New Jersey Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

New and experienced riders encouraged to seek out safety courses

(TEANECK) – Highlighting the need to protect the lives of more than 300,000 New Jersey motorcycle riders, Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Acting Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez and Division of Highway Traffic Safety (HTS) Director Pam Fischer today commemorated the start of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The agencies also unveiled a new promotional video and website designed to promote rider safety and encourage participation in training courses offered around the state.

Standing at the site of one of nine state-approved motorcycle safety education providers, Martinez and Fischer emphasized the national safety message of “Share the Road with Motorcycles” and discussed efforts to increase participation in popular training programs offered for new and experienced riders. Motorists were cautioned to always be aware of their surroundings and focus particular attention when motorcycles are nearby.

“Riders are everywhere, and in New Jersey alone, we have more than 378,000,” said Martinez. “They are our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and grandparents. By raising a driver’s awareness of motorcycles on the road, as well as providing training opportunities for new and experienced riders, we add to the level of safety on our roadways.”

Using dedicated Motorcycle Safety Education funds, the MVC produced a three-minute DVD about New Jersey’s Motorcycle Safety Education Program and its effectiveness in preparing new and experienced riders. The DVDs will be made available to businesses selling motorcycles statewide to help inform customers about the availability of safety courses. The video will also play on YouTube and on the MVC’s newly redesigned motorcycle safety website njridesafe.org. The site provides a wealth of information for riders including safety tips, course locations statewide, proper equipment and valuable links.

As of March 2009, there were 153,000 registered motorcycles in the State of New Jersey and 378,000 residents who possess either a motorcycle license or motorcycle endorsement on their basic driver license. In 2008, 77 motorcycle drivers and 4 passengers lost their lives in motorcycle-related crashes. Last year, 66 individuals lost their lives in a motorcycle-related crash. Of that number, 62 were motorcycle drivers, while 4 individuals were passengers. As of April 27, 2010, there have been twelve motorcycle fatalities on New Jersey roads.

“While we’re seeing the number of motorcycle fatalities decline, we must continue to remind both car drivers and motorcyclists to share the road,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Pam Fischer. “If you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, you must remain alert at all times for motorcyclists. That includes always checking, and double-checking your mirrors, never tailgating a motorcycle and being prepared to react to changing road conditions and traffic that may cause you to brake suddenly.”

In addition to the DVD and revamped website, Martinez announced that a federal motorcycle safety grant, administered by HTS, will be used to fund this year’s “Share the Road with Motorcycles” public awareness campaign. Utilizing NJ Transit bus advertising, signs displayed at tollbooths throughout the state and other methods, the MVC hopes to focus the public’s attention on this important safety issue.

“Motorcyclists also have an obligation to ensure the safety of all roadway users,” said Fischer. “Riders should drive defensively, and, in particular because of their smaller size, always remain visible, remembering to signal when changing lanes, obeying the posted speed limit and never drinking and driving. In addition, all riders must wear DOT-approved helmets and should opt for bright colors or reflective clothing.”

The MVC presently oversees the New Jersey Motorcycle Safety Education Program, which regulates nine not-for-profit and for-profit providers throughout the state. Approximately 6,000 riders are trained annually through the program.

“Our program providers offer a very thorough review of every aspect of motorcycle safety,” added Martinez. “With course materials created by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, new and experienced riders are instructed by true experts on a variety of important topics including proper riding gear, safe operation and basic skills.”

For more information about motorcycle safety, visit www.NJridesafe.org.

YouTube Video: Motorcycle Safety Training in New Jersey [NewJerseyMVC Channel]