As of last week, 46 motorcyclists had lost their lives this year in accidents on Kentucky’s roadways.

While that number is behind the pace set in 2006, when 97 motorcycle fatalities were recorded in the commonwealth, the Kentucky State Police still considers it unacceptably high.

In an effort to help reduce deaths and injuries in motorcycle accidents, the KSP last week announced a new initiative that will educate both riders and the driving public about motorcycle safety and awareness.

“All too often, after a motorcycle crash, the drivers of the other vehicles involved say they never saw the motorcyclist and were unable to respond in time,” KSP Commissioner Jack Adams said. “This is no excuse. Too many lives are being lost.”

The number of motorcycle deaths and the number of collisions involving bikes have been increasing every year, Adams said. For that reason, the KSP has joined with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to develop a program aimed at both riders and drivers.

The program includes two major components. One is the development of a new motorcycle-only drivers’ manual, upon which all motorcycle permit tests will be based.

Secondly, in conjunction with the MSF, the KSP will train the public affairs officers at all 16 of its posts in three motorcycle safety programs.

The programs were developed by the MSF and will be taught to the officers by trainers from that organization.

The first program is titled “Cars, Motorcycles and a Common Ground” and focuses on two- and four-wheeled vehicles sharing the road in a safe manner.

The second, “Riding Straight,” teaches the importance of sober riding. Last year, 46 percent of the riders killed in Kentucky were under the influence of alcohol, the KSP said.

The third program is “The Seasoned Rider” and will target motorcyclists 40 and older, the group which has the fastest-growing number of fatalities.

“We want to encourage the motoring public to be vigilant in observing motorcyclists and to encourage riders to ride like their life depends on it, because it does,” said Capt. Tim Lucas, commander of the KSP’s Highway Safety Branch.

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