Santa Monica News
SMPD Conducts Motorcycle Safety Operation
By Melissa Simon
Sep 11, 2013 - 3:07:40 PM

SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) will be conducting a Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on September 14.

Lieutenant Richard Lewis with SMPD told Canyon News the operation will take place in areas that get really congested with traffic, including Lincoln Avenue, Lincoln Boulevard, Santa Monica Boulevard and Ocean Avenue.

“What they’re looking for are motorcyclists that commit any kind of violation (like) passing on the right, it’s unsafe to do so or turning where they shouldn’t turn,” he said. “They also look for motorists conducting lane changes without signaling, things like that where they’re not looking in their mirrors so they could actually turn into a motorcyclist and cause an injury.”

Other common violations officers will be looking for include driving under the influence or drugs or alcohol, speeding, making illegal turns, stop sign violations or any other dangerous violations, according to the release.

According to California collision data, the “primary causes of motorcycle-involved crashes include speeding, unsafe turning and impairment due to alcohol and other drugs,” as stated in the release. Between 2008 and 2010, there was a drop of 37 percent, but rose almost 18 percent from 2010 to 2011.

Lewis said the goal is to increase education and reduce injuries to motorists because they are the ones that are commonly hurt when accidents occur. 

“It’s also to let the motorists know, ”˜Hey, we’re out there and you will be cited,’” Lewis said. “It’s to enhance or to increase awareness for motorcyclists and motor cycle safety. It’s also for motorcyclists to understand and know that we will enforce the law, all laws. That’s speeding, illegal lane changing, lane splitting when it’s illegal to do so (and) things like that," he added.

The hours for the operation can vary depending on the goal of operation, according to Lewis, and can begin in the morning and start again in the evening. Depending on other incidents that may occur, Lewis said it could flex officers’ hours.

“If it’s Friday or Saturday, it’s probably they’re not looking at anything until the afternoon when the real stringent enforcement would take place [and go] into evening hours,” he said.

The message for drivers and motorcyclists, according to the release, is to “share in the responsibility and do your part by safely sharing the road.” For training, riders can take part in the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Information for the program is available at or 877-743-3411.

The SMPD conducts as many as six of these operations per year, according to Lewis, with the last one taking place on August 18. During that operation, Lewis noted the following results: 

· Four officers and a motor sergeant

· 29 motorcycles stopped, with 18 of those being cited

· 37 vehicle stops, with 35 of those being cited

· 13 advisals, which were probably teachable or learning moments for more minor violations

For more information on the operation, contact Sergeant Phillbo Rubish of the SMPD Traffic Division at 310-458-8950 or Lieutenant Richard Lewis at 310-458-8462.

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