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Tpr. Michael Webb
Kentucky State Police
KSP Public Affairs Branch
Office 502-782-1776

Spike in Motorcycle Crashes Prompts KSP to Launch Social Media Safety Blitz

Date of News Release: 04/09/2012

(Frankfort, KY.) – KSP reports that 2012 has already shown a spike in motorcycle-related crashes with a 69 percent increase from 2011 for the same time period. For this reason, KSP has decided to utilize their best asset for reaching the public – social media. With over 40,000 followers on Facebook©, 2,900 followers on Twitter© and an active YouTube©, Flickr© and Blogger© account, the agency plans to blast out motorcycle safety messaging via these platforms.

KSP Spokesman Capt. David Jude called on his staff to get 'proactive'about motorcycle safety when he reviewed the weekly FARS report (Fatality Analysis Reporting System) showing the spike in motorcycle crashes.

"With the unseasonably warm weather we are having, more bikes are out on the road earlier than what motorists are used to seeing," says Jude. "With a nearly 70 percent increase in motorcycle related crashes already this year, we need to get in front of this trend and stop the unnecessary injuries and deaths on our roadways."

Jude advised that the agency plans a weeklong social media campaign that includes launching a new YouTube video about motorcycle safety, Facebook and Twitter updates with safety messaging and a blog post from KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer about the project.

"Our principle concern is to increase driver recognition of motorcyclists in traffic, while at the same time encouraging cyclists to engage in the overall safe operation of their bikes," adds Jude.

"Being fiscally conservative, our agency does not have the financial resources to purchase media packages. We believe that by tapping into social media, we can still have a voice in proactive messaging, but at minimal expense."

Through April 4, 2012, there have been 249 motorcycle related crashes resulting in 167 injuries and 9 deaths. When compared to crashes in 2011 for the same time period that calculates into a 69 percent increase in crashes; 75 percent increase in injuries; and 44 percent increase in deaths.

Jude said the increase in motorcycle crashes and fatalities has stepped up the emphasis on the agency’s annual ‘Motorcycle Safety Day’ awareness program.

This will be the 5th year that the agency will host the event that includes safety exhibits, motorcycle vendors, a news conference and a police escorted ride through scenic Kentucky. This program is scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2012 at KSP Headquarters in Frankfort.

In addition to Safety Day, KSP will offer a free three-hour motorcycle safety seminar on May 17, 2012, taught by a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach.

"There’s often an obstacle facing new riders," says Jude. "They’d like to buy their first bike or maybe upgrade to a newer, more powerful one, but worry about their ability to handle it safely. Rider education programs are the answer for both beginning and seasoned riders. We advocate attending refresher courses that help riders keep their edge by sharpening their skills."

Jude said that a motorcyclist is much more vulnerable than a passenger vehicle occupant in the event of a crash. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that motorcyclists are 34 times more likely to die in traffic crashes than passenger car occupants.

Jude offers tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways.

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