While overall traffic crash fatalities continue to decrease in Washington, motorcyclist fatalities continue to rise.

In our state, motorcycles make up just 4 percent of the registered vehicles, but account for almost 15 percent of the traffic fatalities (2009-2011 average).

Year Total Traffic Fatalities Motorcycle Fatalities Percentage of Total
2009 492 69 14%
2010 460 70 15%
2011 454 72 16%
2012 438 83 19%
2013 435 72 17%


It’s A Fine Line

It’s a fine line between the best ride ever and the last ride ever. We all have a responsibility to share the road so that we arrive home safely to our families. Join riders from all walks of life with one common mission of Target Zero. Together we can eliminate crashes that result in fatalities and serious injuries. http://itsafineline.com/

Highlights from Washington’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan: Target Zero (2009-2011 data)

Training and Endorsements

Around 75 percent of fatalities involve:

1) riders with less than two years’ experience,
2) unendorsed riders or
3) riders with unknown experience levels.

Approved motorcycle rider training schools can be found at many locations around the state. A license endorsement is required in Washington to ride a motorcycle. Data shows that endorsed riders have fewer infractions and are less likely to be involved in fatal collisions when compared to unendorsed riders.In 2007 legislation was passed allowing law enforcement to impound unendorsed riders’ bikes when they’ve been pulled over for a routine traffic stop. The result was a dramatic increase in new riders taking training courses on their path to endorsement

The UK’s Never Too Good series encourages bikers to take further training. Because nobody’s too good to be a better rider. View the episodes here.

Motorcycle Helmets

Universal motorcycle helmet laws are effective at increasing helmet use, and are recommended by NHTSA as a “countermeasure that works.” Review Washington’s helmet law.

Impaired Riding

Alcohol impairment was involved in 25 percent of fatalities. And motorcyclists are the only person group where drug impairment, involved in 29 percent of fatalities, exceeds alcohol impairment. This means one in four motorcyclists killed on our roads were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.


Speeding was involved in 57 percent of fatalities and 30 percentof serious injuries among motorcyclists.


Young and middle aged riders are over-represented in fatal crashes. Overwhelmingly younger riders choose a “sport bike” which is generally a low to the ground, high performance and very fast. The middle aged riders frequently choose “cruisers” which are heavy, large, highway type motorcycles designed for comfort and longer rides.


Male riders were involved in 92 percent of fatalities and 83 percent of serious injury collisions.


The average number of violations for all endorsed motorcyclists is a 1.1. Endorsed riders in fatal collisions have had an average of 4.1 violations

Mark Medalen – Program Manager

360.725.9878 mmedalen@wtsc.wa.gov

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