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Motorcycle fatalities on the rise on state roads | Washington State Patrol

Washington drivers are moving in the right direction when it comes to motorcycle safety and awareness on Washington roadways.  More motorcycle riders are endorsed now then ever before as more riders register their motorcycles.  But the work is not done yet.

So far in 2012 we have had 13 motorcycle fatalities with 11 of those caused by the rider and not another vehicle.  This is a similar trend law enforcement has seen over the past several years where the majority of motorcycle collisions were caused by rider error.

“It’s no longer an excuse to blame the other driver,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste.  “It’s the responsibility of the rider to take the steps to ride safe, not drink and drive, and know your riding ability.”

Last weekend alone, there were three fatality motorcycle collisions on Washington roadways.  All three collisions occurred due to rider error.

Just because the majority of motorcycle fatalities are caused by the rider, all motorists have the responsibility to be alert and aware of motorcycles around them.  By taking the extra time to check your blind spots prior to making a lane change, allowing for extra following distance, and being aware of approaching motorcycles, drivers will be able to avoid potential collisions.

“All motorists, regardless of what they are driving, need to look carefully for motorcyclists, respect their safety, and share the road,” said Batiste.

Tips motorcyclists and motorists can use to stay safe on our roadways.

The single biggest cause of motorcycle fatalities in Washington is excessive speed and inexperience i.e. drivers exceeding their skill level.  Speed reduces reaction time and increases the seriousness of injuries.


The two groups that have the most trouble are young riders on high powered bikes, and older riders who lack the appropriate training.  The young kids are riding at speeds way above their skill level, and the older riders are taking up the hobby without investing in safety classes.

All riders would benefit from approved motorcycle safety classes.   They teach you how to recognize a collision developing while there is still time to avoid it.

The safety of motorcycle riders remains overwhelmingly in the hands of riders themselves.

Automobile drivers still need to share the road.  Drivers need to be alert and aware of motorcyclists around them.

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