May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and law enforcement agencies throughout the Sacramento region urge drivers to look twice for motorcyclists so all motorists can safely share the road.
California is home to more than 1 million licensed motorcycle riders, according to a California Highway Patrol news release.
"Whether a driver is at an intersection or changing lanes, they should always keep an eye out for motorcyclists," CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said in a written statement. "Because motorcycles have a much smaller profile than other vehicles, it can be difficult for drivers to judge the distance and speed of an approaching motorcycle."
In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, 361 people died in California and nearly 11,000 others were injured as a result of a crash involving a motorcycle.
In addition to using safety equipment and riding gear, motorcyclists are encouraged to seek professional training before beginning to ride.
The CHP-administered California Motorcyclist Safety Program offers rider courses for beginning motorcyclists and for riders interested in improving their skills. The program operates more than 120 training sites statewide and expects to train 65,000 motorcyclists this year. For course information and locations, see the the website at http://www.ca-msp.org/.