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Increase in motorcycle fatalities a cause for concern

OLYMPIA — For a motorcycle rider, what could be better than warm spring weather and open roads? 

For too many riders in Washington, recent lower traffic volumes have led to higher speeds and tragically to an increase in rider deaths.

In 2020, 12 of the 17 motorcycle fatalities on Washington roads occurred during April. Speeding was a common factor in these almost always preventable collisions.

Speeds in the mid to upper 100s have been observed. At these speeds, the chances of being involved in a collision increase dramatically, and the severity of the collision is often deadly.

In 2019, there were 92 motorcycle fatalities, the most since 1982. Leading factors contributing to these numbers were speed, inexperience as demonstrated by a lack of proper license endorsement and driving while impaired. 

Another dangerous decision that some riders have made is failing to stop for police for a speeding violation. The rapid acceleration and top speeds of modern motorcycles leads some riders to think that running from the police is possible.  That is always a bad decision often leading to dire consequences including serious legal troubles, injury, or being the victim or cause of a fatal collision.

Washington State Patrol would like to remind all motorcyclists that open roads do not mean you are free to open the throttle. Speed is the number one factor in traffic fatalities. Enjoy your ride but stay safe, obey speed limits, wear safety gear, be visible to other drivers, pay attention, and always ride sober.

WSP too often sees individuals turn what would have been a traffic infraction into a serious felony offense leading to prison time and changed life trajectories. Very often, riders who think they are getting away, are being followed by aircraft operated by WSP troopers.

WSP would like to remind all motorcyclists that open roads do not mean you are free to open the throttle. Speed is the number one factor in traffic fatalities. Enjoy your ride but stay safe, obey speed limits, wear safety gear, be visible to other drivers, pay attention, and always ride sober.

The life you save may be your own.

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