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Beefed-up Fresno police patrols will have their eyes out for careless and drunk drivers on Saturday.

“During these trying times, the safety of the community remains our top priority, and the Fresno Police Department recognizes the need to protect the public by looking for violations made by drivers and riders that puts the public at further risk.” — Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama

From noon to 5 p.m., the emphasis will be on looking out for violations that increase the risk of motorcycle crashes.

Then, from 4 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday, the officers will be on the hunt for drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Funding for these efforts is through a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

High Fatality Rate for Motorcyclists

With nearly 900,000 registered motorcycles in the state, many road users are going places without the same protections as people driving cars and trucks. Motorcycle riders are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than vehicle occupants.

The Fresno Police Department offers these tips to keep the roads safe:

Drivers

• Always check twice for motorcycles in your mirrors and blind spots.
• Use your signal when changing lanes.
• Never follow a motorcycle too closely; keep a safe distance.
• When at an intersection, allow enough space before turning.

Motorcyclists

• Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet and protective gear like gloves and leather clothing.
• Consider adding reflective tape to your clothing to make it easier for others to see you.
• Keep your lights on at all times, even during the day.
• Don’t assume drivers see you: signal well in advance before changing lanes and watch for turning vehicles.
• Although lane splitting is legal, the practice is not encouraged at high speeds in free-flowing traffic, or between large vehicles like big rigs and motor homes.

Drunk Driving Is Dangerous and Expensive

“If you plan on drinking or taking medications that may impact your ability to drive safely, plan on staying at home,” Balderrama said.

The chief noted that first-time DUI offenders face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended driver’s license.

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