New signs raise awareness to motorcyclists

July 26, 2012 12:02:00 AM PDT
Every day hundreds of cars, trucks and an increasing number of motorcycles commute down Blackstone Avenue. The rise in motorcycle traffic is causing concern because in some cases, split-second-decisions can be dangerous.

This year, the Fresno Police Department has investigated two fatal motorcycle crashes and 28 injury collisions. The majority of those crashes were at intersections.

"Both of those fatals were as a result of somebody turning left in front of a motorcycle. The left hand turn in front of a motorcycle is probably the most common violation that injures motorcycle riders," said Lt. Tony Bennink, Fresno Police Department Traffic Division.

In an effort to prevent collisions, the Fresno police department and all state insurance unveiled its new campaign by placing signs that say "watch for motorcycles" at the intersection of Blackstone and El Paso near River Park.

"Once is never enough. In other words look left, look right and then look left one more time because there are motorcyclists on the road that are a little harder to see than a vehicle," said Gary Gonzales, Allstate Insurance.

Action News spoke with some experienced motorcyclists about the signs. They are in favor of the new visuals and hope it brings more awareness.

"Look out for us. We're only on two wheels so we have more dangers," said Jerry Kirkorian, motorcyclist.

Paul Angevine of Fresno has been riding his motorcycle since the 1970s. He says safety should be on everyone's mind whether they are on two or four wheels.

"I just watch out more. I just watch out for the drivers," said Paul Angevine about driving defensively.

Other riders we spoke to say they hope drivers become more aware of their surroundings.

"They don't see you. They are just thinking of something else and they make a left hand turn in front of you. There becomes a point of no return there and there's not much you can do," said Dale Balagno about dangerous situations motorcyclists can face with drivers.

With the new signs in place, safety advocates are hoping drivers think twice while commuting on busy road ways in the city.

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