PennDOT today announced a new comprehensive motorcycle safety campaign, Live Free Ride Alive, as part of its continuing and aggressive effort to reduce the number of motorcycle crashes and fatalities on Pennsylvania roadways.

Governor Edward G. Rendell has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.

"While Pennsylvania marked a decrease in the number of motorcycle crashes and fatalities in 2009 – the first decrease seen in several years, we believe even one crash or fatality is still one too many," said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. "The Live Free Ride Alive campaign is part of our effort to further reduce motorcycle crashes and fatalities in Pennsylvania."

The campaign's interactive website, www.LiveFreeRideAlive.com [1], is designed specifically for motorcyclists. The website challenges riders to accept personal responsibility for their own safety. Important messages include obeying the speed limit and not drinking and riding, as speeding and alcohol use increase the risk of being killed or injured in a crash. The website also emphasizes the importance of being properly licensed to operate a motorcycle and encourages the use of protective gear when riding.

Website users can also share their riding experiences and lessons about what they've learned. Riders also have the ability to take the "Be One Less" pledge, in which riders strive to be "one less" crash statistic in honor of motorcyclists who have been injured or killed in crashes.

Taking an approved motorcycle safety training course also decreases the chances of a rider being killed or injured in a crash. New and seasoned riders can take advantage of free basic and experienced motorcycle safety courses through the Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program. For more information and to register for a course, visit www.pamsp.com [2].

As part of the comprehensive campaign, PennDOT is also encouraging all motorists to share the road and watch out for motorcycles. All motorists should respect a motorcycle as they would a full-size vehicle, with the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on the road.

"Sharing the roadway is a cooperative effort that enhances everyone's safety," said Biehler. "By curbing aggressive behavior and driving in accordance with common sense, courtesy, and the law, motorists and motorcyclists can ride together safely on the roadways."

More than 3,700 crashes involving motorcycles occurred on Pennsylvania roadways in 2009, resulting in 204 fatalities. The number of licensed motorcyclists increased in 2009 by 12,000, while the number of registered motorcycles increased by 3,000.