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Motorcycle officers plan DMV demo & safety fair Saturday
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Manteca and Ripon motorcycle police officers are set to hold a motorcycle safety demonstration Saturday morning at Mistlin Park on River Road beginning at 10 a.m. - photo by GLENN KAHL
RIPON — It’s all part of an effort to save the lives of motorcycle riders with Manteca and Ripon motorcycle police officers putting on their safety fair Saturday at Mistlin Park in Ripon for the Ripon-Manteca Motorcycle Safety Fair.

The event is being organized by officers John Machado of Manteca and Stephen Meece of Ripon.  It will run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The officers  were quick to explain that while many of the traffic fatality statistics are dropping in most categories, motorcycle crashes continue to claim the lives of their operators – their riders.  

Machado said it’s mostly because of the lack of experience and the lack of training in motorcycle safety.  He added that research indicates that – per vehicle mile traveled – motorcycle riders are 37 times more likely than a passenger car occupant to die in a traffic crash.

Six  motorcycle officers from Manteca and Ripon are going to be on hand to exchange ideas with the riding public.  They will also demonstrate the DMV cone driving test that riders are required  to take and pass before they can get their license to operate a motorcycle.

Tracy Police Department and the California Highway Patrol are also expected to have representatives at Saturday’s motorcycle safety event.  The goal is to promote safe riding practices and proper riding attire.

Officer Patrick Danipour said many motorcycle mishaps are fueled by the downturn in the economy where commuters are buying motorcycles to save gasoline expense and the wear and tear on a vehicle.  Inexperienced drivers are more likely to sustain injuries – too often fatal injuries – in crashes within heavy freeway traffic, he suggested.

Ripon’s Stephen Meece added, “Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too, and should follow the rules of the roadway, be alert to other drivers, and always wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmet and other protective gear.”

Meece noted that motorcycles are some of the smallest vehicles on the roads, often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot making it important that motorists keep a watchful eye out for them.

Five motorcycle related businesses are expected to have booths at the event and the Calvary Reformed (church) Riders are expected to be on hand as well.  Mitchell’s Modesto Harley Davidson, Cycle Specialties, Delta Powersports and Cycle Gear have all reserved spots at the safety fair.

In 2008 Manteca had one fatal motorcycle crash and a second rider died after spending several weeks in the hospital, officers noted.  Another rider suffered major injuries and was left paralyzed from the neck down.

A California Highway Patrol helicopter will be touching down at the park site and it will be available for the public to take pictures with the craft and its crew.  There will also be free hot dogs and sodas for those attending.

Police  are working the safety fair on a non-overtime basis.  Three Manteca Police Explorers will be there, too, to help with the cooking and to pass out fliers to the public explaining proper riding style and proper riding equipment that should be considered in the name of safety.

The five Manteca officers and the one Ripon motorcycle officer train together routinely on maneuvers in tight quarters and with quick stops and pursuit procedures  to keep their proficiencies honed.