OLYMPIA, WA — More motorcycles travel on Washington’s roads in the summer months than any other time of the year. Officials are concerned that fatal motorcycle crashes continue to increase in our state. In a continued effort to reduce these crashes, increased safety patrols will be visible July 7 and run through July 23 in Pierce, King, and Snohomish Counties.
The patrols will focus on illegal driving behaviors by both motorcycle riders and other vehicle drivers. Local law enforcement agencies, along with the Washington State Patrol, will be working overtime focused on drivers and riders who commit traffic safety violations.
“The increasing number of motorcycle rider deaths is very concerning and we know that we can all work to prevent these deaths,” said Shelly Baldwin, Director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. “Drivers can watch out for motorcyclists. Riders can improve their skills through training. All of us can respect speed limits and ride and drive sober.”
From 2018 through 2022, motorcycles made up just 3 percent of the registered vehicles on Washington’s roads but accounted for 16 percent of all traffic fatalities (492 of 3,076). In 2022 alone, preliminary data shows 132 motorcycle rider fatalities in Washington, possibly the most in a single year in our state’s history. This was a 43 percent increase over 2021.
While about two-thirds of fatal motorcycle crashes involved another vehicle, illegal and dangerous actions by the rider including speeding, losing control in corners and curves, improper passing, and riding under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs were the main contributing factors cited in these crashes.
“Summer events can bring thousands of people together from across our state,” Baldwin added. “We want to ensure that everyone enjoys the journey and arrives back home safely.”
In June 2022, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a study supporting the effectiveness of law enforcement patrols in reducing unsafe driving behavior and crashes. The WTSC and participating law enforcement agencies condemn profiling. Trained and commissioned law enforcement officers will be conducting these patrols enforcing traffic violations as defined by Washington State laws.
For training and safety videos, gear recommendations, and other information on Washington’s motorcycle safety program, please visit https://www.ridesaferideon.com/.
These and all extra law enforcement patrols sponsored by WTSC are part of Target Zero—striving to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on Washington’s roadways. For more information, visit www.targetzero.com. Additional information on the Washington Traffic Safety Commission can be found on the website, www.wtsc.wa.gov.
Source: WTSC Research and Data Division:
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For journalists on word choice:
A “crash” or “collision” happens when a vehicle collides with another object. Using the word “accident” assumes it was a bizarre occurrence that no one could have stopped, when in fact the circumstances leading up to 90 percent of car crashes are predictable and preventable. WTSC is seeing and hearing “crash” or “collision” in the news more often lately and wants to thank journalists who are making this insightful choice.