The California Highway Patrol mounted a coordinated aerial and patrol car surveillance of Highways 243 and 74, targeting motorcyclists last weekend. The operation was in response to a recent uptick in serious injury and fatality motorcycle collisions on mountain roadways.
Coordinating the operation on Sunday was CHP Lt. Brian Gonzalez from the San Gorgonio Pass Station in Banning. He said fixed-wing CHP aircraft work the area keeping an eye out for excessive speed and yellow-line violations. The officer in the aircraft can determine road speed and yellow-line violations by flying above and tracking the vehicle or motorcycle and determining if there is a violation in progress. The operator then alerts ground patrols who make the stop and issue the citation.
Because of heavy weekend motorcycle traffic on the affected mountain roads and the increased number of serious collisions involving motorcycles, Gonzalez indicated more patrols and aerial surveillance will be conducted as resources permit.
Officer Dario Cruz, with whom this reporter rode last Sunday, said CHP patrol cars have the ability to determine potential speed violations both ahead of and behind a patrol car, with traffic moving in the same as well as opposing direction as the CHP vehicle. Also involved in the patrol on Sunday was Sgt. Steve Kong.
Gonzalez noted that grants have already been approved for installing more signage on both Highways 74 and 243 — signs warning of curves and of safe speeds to be used in those curves. He said he expected installation of new signage would begin in the next several weeks.