May has been declared motorcycle safety awareness month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the USA. Since statistics show over and over again, that the majority of motorcycle fatalities on the road are caused by cars, not by motorcycles, you'd think that during this month, the police wold be extra vigilant that cars look out of motorcycles.
But apparently not in California. According to the LAPD blog (see the Via: above), the Los Angeles Police Department is deploying extra officers to patrol the areas that are frequented by motorcycles, looking for motorcycles that violate traffic rules.
I'd say that when the LAPD got the memo, they didn't see the word "SAFETY", but are just concentrating on "MOTORCYCLE AWARENESS", so they are looking for motorcycles.
Authorities around the world keep thinking that bikes are the bad boys (and girls). Yes, there are speeders, DUI, etc, but not any more (probably less) than cars. When a motorcycle speeds and crashes, you can scrape one person of the road, but when a SUV screws up, you can scrape off more people from the road. So why not just look for cars that are driving like they own the road, putting the lives of motorcyclists more in peril?
According to the LAPD blog, motorcycle fatalities in California increased 175% between 1997 and 2008. According to the blog, the reason is speeding and DUI. But have they also looked at the increase in number of motorcycles on the road? In other countries, more motorcycles increases the number of accidents, but not "per motorcycle". The ratio is usually down, it's just more riders.
So come on LAPD, do your thing, and protect riders, not go looking for them!