Road safety important topic to revisit

Published 8:00 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

I would like to continue this week’s article with information from the 20th annual Traffic Safety Summit. Since spring is here, I always use this opportunity to attend break-out sessions for motorcycle and bicycle classes.

Many motorcycle owners may have received a mailing within the past three years discussing the motorcycle endorsements. The Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) obtained a list of all registered motorcycles in Michigan and compared that to Michigan drivers with a “CY” motorcycle endorsement. It was discovered that 16 percent of registered owners did not have the endorsement. There are public and private classes in Michigan that meet the standards set forth by national standards, many running as low as $25.

It has been discovered that in 60 percent of motorcycle crashes, the operators had no endorsement and almost half of those crashes were single vehicle crashes. It was also mentioned that 84 percent of CY endorsed operators had no formal training, obtaining the endorsement by other legal means.

The class is a great tool for proper riding techniques, laws, and handling skills. To encourage operators to get the endorsement OHSP is offering a new program this year. Although I do not own a motorcycle, I attended a formal class and received my CY endorsement. I personally recommend this training. I discovered skills I only read about. It was awesome to put these skills to real situations with hands-on driving scenarios. The following is a news release about the new program.

“New, specially designed high-visibility vests will be given to motorcycle riders who successfully complete a public-sponsored rider training class this year as part of a pilot project to dramatically increase the number of motorcyclists using high-visibility clothing or gear. The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), which is providing the vests through federal traffic safety funds, expects that by the end of the summer nearly 9,000 newly trained riders with sharpened skills will also have a more visible profile on the road.

“This is a continuation of efforts to encourage motorcycle rider training, proper license endorsements, and the use of high visibility gear,” said Michael L. Prince, OHSP director. “We learned in focus groups that many riders think only of construction-type vests as options for high-visibility clothing. The vests we are providing combine visibility with function and will be something many riders will want to wear.”

Scientific studies have shown that a bright yellow-green color is the most noticeable to the human eye and has been used in safety clothing for construction workers, law enforcement, and emergency medical services personnel for many years. However, a 2013 observation survey of motorcycle riders in Michigan found that only about 5 percent wore any kind of high-visibility clothing or gear. The new high-visibility vest, when worn, will make it easier for other drivers to see the motorcyclist and should reduce the number of near misses and crashes that occur when passenger vehicle drivers fail to see a motorcyclist in the mix of vehicles.

Along with increased visibility, rider training and the proper license endorsement are keys to reducing motorcyclist deaths and injuries. Nearly half the riders killed in crashes lack a cycle endorsement on their license.

Starting in June, vests will be provided to those who take and pass a public-sponsored rider training course which provides classroom and actual motorcycle operator training in a controlled, off-street environment. Successful completion of an approved course allows a person to waive the rider skills test requirement to add a motorcycle endorsement to their driver license.”


Rob Herbstreith is a community service trooper for the Michigan State Police. Questions or comments can be emailed to