The California Highway Patrol will be conducting a Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation throughout the Central Valley today in an effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries.
Extra officers will be patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where multiple crashes have occurred.
The operation is part of Motorcycle Safety Month and is being done to try to curb the rise in the number of motorcycle deaths seen over last few years.
Statewide motorcycle fatalities were down 37 percent from 2008 to 2010 and then began to shoot back up in 2011. The numbers in Merced County have been consistent, with an average of 71 motorcycle accidents a year and about two deaths annually.
Officers will be keeping an eye out for passenger vehicles and motorcycles operated by those driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, making illegal turns or committing other dangerous acts.
"It's an operation that will be held throughout all 17 areas in the Central Valley," Fresno public information officer Johnny Fisher said. "We're trying to crack down on high-risk behaviors or just motorcyclists that are in over their heads.
"We want the drivers to be more conscious of the other vehicles around them, and for people to look out for motorcycles. A lot of these accidents aren't the motorcyclist's fault. Passenger vehicles just don't notice they are there," Fisher said.