The California Highway Patrol announced today that it has received $625,000 to develop the Get Educated and Ride Safe (GEARS) program. The GEARS program is intended to promote motorcycle safety and awareness and to “reduce the number of motorcycle-involved crashes and crash victims.” Funding for this program comes via a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
According to CHP Information Officer Jaime Coffee, this grant will be managed by the CHP’s Research and Planning Section, rather than the California Motorcycle Safety Program, which is under the Special Projects Section. The full press release is included for your reading pleasure a bit further down this page, but here are the important specifics: the additional money will be used to fund deployment of “officers on enhanced motorcycle safety enforcement operations in regions with a high number of motorcycle incidents,” and on a “year-long series of motorcycle traffic safety education campaigns,” including the usual Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May.
I’ve been rather outspoken about the notion that the CMSP should spend more of our money (“our” as in “us motorcyclists”) on safety and education programs since I started attending CMSP Advisory Committee meetings a few years back, so I’m glad to see some additional funds going to such programs in the Golden State. And as you can see from my report on the spring 2018 CMSP Advisory Committee meeting, $625k isn’t chump change in the overall context of CMSP funding. It’s actually a pretty big deal.
But I’d rather see the money going 100% to campaigns and educational programs, instead of funding enforcement operations.
Motorcycle-specific checkpoints have been prohibited in California since AB 1047 made them illegal in 2012, but some motorcyclists still feel “targeted” by these enforcement operations, especially the vest-wearing tough guys whose feelings are so frequently hurt by so-called profiling. The press releases for these operations usually emphasize a focus on both motorcycles and automobiles, and some of the reporting I’ve seen has revealed a high percentage of tickets written to drivers of four-wheeled vehicles—but I still think the money would be better spent on actual rider and driver education, instead of what are arguably revenue-driving operations.
I hope to get some clarification on the percentage of funds to be used on enforcement and education in the next CMSP meeting. Speaking of which…
Upcoming CMSP Advisory Committee Meeting
The fall 2018 CMSP Advisory Committee meeting happens this Wednesday, October 17th, from 1:30 to 4:30 PM, at California Highway Patrol Headquarters at 601 North 7th Street in Sacramento. CityBike usually leads a ride from Oakland to The Sac for the meeting, but we’re not doing one for this meeting because I’m currently injured and unable to ride.
Imagine the saddest sad face emoticon you can to accompany that last bit.
I still hope we’ll have significant rider presence at the meeting. You can get full details about the meeting at the California Motorcyclist website, and read about the topics covered at the spring 2018 CMSP Advisory Meeting here. There will be a dial-in for riders who want to listen in: call 1-877-492-4762 1-877-492-4764 to listen in; the passcode is 502784#.
Update (10/27/28): as of meeting start, the dial-in on CaliforniaMotorcyclist.com is incorrect, correct number updated above.
CityBike will of course be covering the meeting, as is tradition.
Get Educated and Ride Safe (GEARS) Program Grant Announcement