California Highway Patrol officers will have extra resources to cut the number of motorcycle crashes in the region thanks to a $1.2 million grant.

The grant will pay for extra patrols, new public service announcements and more motorcycle safety operations. The grant covers four Southern California counties that have had a consistently high number of motorcycle crashes, said Jaime Coffee, a CHP spokeswoman.

Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties are the other three areas covered in the grant. From 2006-08, the four counties have had the highest number of motorcycle crashes in the state.

“The number of motorcycle crashes and fatalities in these four counties continues to be troubling,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “With the help of this grant and the cooperation of motorcyclists and motorists, hopefully we can reverse this trend.”

In San Diego County, there were 1,279 motorcycle crashes in 2008, according to the CHP. Those crashes resulted in 54 deaths and 1,236 people injured.

Riverside County, which is not included in the grant, had 744 crashes resulting in 32 deaths and 581 injuries in 2008, according to the CHP.

Dozens of people are killed or injured in motorcycle crashes on North County roads each year. Some are members of the military.

At least four Marines and one Navy sailor died on local roads last year while riding motorcycles, according to news reports.

Military leaders have taken notice and have overhauled their approach to two-wheel safety, adding new training and skill-building sessions, some of them tailored to young sport bike riders.

With the money from the grant, the CHP will be able to pay for at least nine motorcycle safety enforcement operations in areas where there are a high number of crashes. It will also help pay to produce two public service announcements related to motorcycle safety.

The goal of the grant is to reduce the number of motorcycle-related deaths and injuries by 5 percent in the four counties, according to the CHP.

Officer Eric Newbury, a spokesman for the CHP in Oceanside, said the extra help was welcome.

“Any time we can educate the public when it comes to motorcycle safety, it’s great news,” Newbury said.

Funding for the grant comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Safety Administration.

For more information please visit: http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/sdcounty/article_cda22ae4-33e0-5c61-b9d5-a61fb753b192.html

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