Because motorcycles do not offer the same protection to the driver that a car would, the probability of a motorcycle fatality stemming from an accident is extremely high. Unfortunately, the risks are real, as there were more than 4,500 motorcycle fatalities on American roadways in 2010. Because motorcyclists are so fragile in the event of an accident, it is only natural to assume that the drivers of vehicles are somehow to blame. But the Washington State Patrol wants to better educate residents of Washington State about the risks of motorcycles.
Summer is Here
In Washington State, practically everyone looks forward to the warm weather that typically appears during the summer months. A break from the rain allows us to get outside and enjoy the beautiful state that we live in.
The increasingly warm weather also serves as an invitation for motorcycle season, something that is greatly increasing in popularity across the state.
“Washington drivers are moving in the right direction when it comes to motorcycle safety and awareness on Washington roadways,” reads a release from the Washington State Patrol. “More motorcycle riders are endorsed now then [sic] ever before as more riders register their motorcycles. But the work is not done yet.”
The state has seen 13 motorcycle fatalities so far in 2012, 11 of which have been caused by the driver of the motorcycle, not the other vehicle.
“It’s no longer an excuse to blame the other driver,” says 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.”
Motorcycle Fatalities Trends in Washington
Trends in Washington State have somewhat fluctuated in recent years. There was a decline from 80 to 69 from 2006 to 2007, but 2008 showed another spike at 81. 2009 and 2010 tapered back down to 70 and 69, respectively.
The fact that there has been a decline in fatalities over the past two years during an increase in ridership has been a good sign for motorcyclists in Washington State. However, with already 13 fatalities before the start of summer – data shows that most motorcycle fatalities throughout the year occur between June and August – the Washington State Patrol is addressing a cause for concern.
The recent Cinco de Mayo weekend saw three motorcycle fatalities, which the WSP reports all “occurred due to rider error.” Another fatality occurred Tuesday night as a motorcyclist lost control and went over a 20-foot embankment following a high-speed chase with police.
The WSP release advises motorcyclists that the responsibility for safer roadways lies in the hands of drivers of all types of vehicles. The single biggest cause of motorcycle fatalities, according to the release, is excessive speed and inexperience, “i.e. drivers exceeding their skill level.”
What do you think about the Washington State motorcycle fatality trends? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comment box below. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, you may need to seek legal representation. Contact the Davis Law Group today at 206-727-4000 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.