For informational/historical purposes only.

Ohio Department of Public Safety ∙ Ohio Department of Transportation ∙ Ohio State Highway Patrol

Joint Internet News Release

June 6, 2006

State Agencies Announce Joint Motorcycle Safety Program
Public Safety, Transportation, Highway Patrol join forces to promote safe ridership this summer

COLUMBUS State officials with oversight over highways and public safety have joined forces to urge all Ohioans to practice safe motorcycle riding this summer.  The Departments of Public Safety and Transportation, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol today held a joint news conference to discuss the increase in motorcycle-related fatalities and the states Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan (CHSP) to address this important issue.

Last year, there were 177 motorcycle fatalities, an increase of more 30 percent from 2004. Alcohol or drug impairment was a factor in 45 percent of the crashes, while lack of a helmet was a factor in 73 percent of the fatalities.  Overall, there were 1,326 highway fatalities in Ohio, a three percent increase over 2004, which saw 1,285 fatalities.

There are far too many Ohioans dying as a result of highway fatalities, said Public Safety Director Kenneth L. Morckel.  In order to put things back on the right track, we need to enact our strategic plan and work through our partners at the Highway Patrol and the Department of Transportation to ensure that our safety message is reaching motorcycle riders.

The Department of Public Safety is moving forward with its Motorcycle Safety Strategic Plan, which: encourages rider groups to sponsor drug and alcohol-free events; promotes proper licensing for riders, works with the Highway Patrol to increase enforcement, especially in motorcycle crash hot spots; and promotes ODPS rider education programs through dealers, manufacturers and rider groups.

As part of its CHSP, Ohio has adopted the national goal of reducing fatalities to 1.0 death per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. To achieve this goal by 2008, Ohio must reduce overall highway fatalities to no more than 1,100 per year. Through the Plan, ODOT is working with federal, state and local organizations to target the most dangerous types and locations of crashes on all of the states roads, not just interstates and highways. The CHSP identifies engineering, enforcement and driver education strategies that will have the greatest impact in preventing injuries and saving lives.

To reach the national goal and reduce fatalities to no more than 1,100 per year, we must work together, said Gordon Proctor, ODOT director. Engineering and roadway solutions alone will not be effective so ODOT is pleased to partner with the Department of Public Safety and Highway Patrol to move beyond making roadway improvements and proactively targeting areas that pose a threat to highway safety. 

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is partnering with the American Motorcyclist Association to continue its Ride Smart. Drive Smart. safety education partnership for a second riding season.   Throughout the spring and summer, the Patrol will provide a series of motorcycle safety tips from the AMA to help make it a safe and enjoyable motorcycle riding season in Ohio.

There are three key safety messages of Ride Smart. Drive Smart., said Lt. Colonel Michael Finamore, Assistant Superintendent for Administration for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.  We want motorcycle riders to ride with the proper training and licensing, and to ride sober by following the AMAs national Ride Straight program.  We also want to stress to car and truck drivers how important it is for them to be aware of motorcyclists on the road and to use the appropriate precautions when driving in traffic with motorcyclists.

This month, the Highway Patrol will reintroduce motorcycle patrols to Ohio highways after an absence of more than fifty years.  The first six patrol motorcycles are scheduled to patrol Central Ohio while also participating in local motorcycle safety programs. 

Over the past five years, Ohio has seen dramatic increases in motorcycle registrations, from approximately 272,000 in 2001 to more than 333,000 in 2005.  Licensed drivers with motorcycle endorsements have also increased over the same time, from approximately 605,000 in 2001 to more than 646,000 in 2005. 

related information: Motorcycle Safety Fact Sheet  |  Motorcycle Statistics