Recent lower traffic volumes have led to higher motorcycle speeds and tragically, to an increase in rider deaths.

Washington State Patrol Public Information Officer Sergeant Darren Wright, detailed the information in a press release on May 20. In 2020, 12 of the 17 motorcycle fatalities on Washington roads occurred during the month of April. Speeding was a common factor in these collisions.

There has been a significant increase in high speed violations by both cars and motorcycles. Speeds in the mid to upper 100’s have been observed with one vehicle traveling 192 mph. 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. Driving while impaired is always dangerous, but when the impaired person makes a choice to operate a motorcycle, the danger rises significantly.

The operation of a motorcycle takes more mental focus and physical coordination than driving a car. Focus and coordination are severely diminished by intoxicants and drugs.

Motorcycles also lack many of a car’s safety devices such as seatbelts and airbags to protect a rider in a collision. Even “minor” motorcycle collisions can have major consequences.

WSP would like to remind all motorcyclists that open roads do not mean you are free to open the throttle.

Enjoy your ride but stay safe, obey speed limits, wear safety gear, be visible to other drivers, pay attention, and always ride sober.

The Washington State Patrol would also like to remind all motorists that no matter how busy the roadways are or are not, speed is the number one factor in traffic fatalities. Slow down. The life you save may be your own.

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