A news article published on chronline.com reports that the number of fatal motorcycle collisions increased in 2020. According to crash data and statistics compiled by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) and the State Department of Licensing (DOL), the month of May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The two agencies ask all motorists to drive safely, watch out for motorcyclists, and to remember to share the road with other motorists.
State and local law enforcement agencies, along with safety advocates, are urging drivers to look out for motorcyclists. The spring and summer months bring more motorcycles onto the roadways, and many drivers have a hard time seeing motorists as they merge into traffic. In fact, motorcycle accidents involving other motor vehicles pulling out in front of them are the number one cause of fatal and non-fatal motorcycle collisions. Motorcyclists should also do their part by making themselves more visible to other motorists. Two effective ways motorcyclists can make themselves more visible are to use their high beams during the daytime and to wear bright clothing, or that’s made with reflective material and fluorescent orange or yellow in color.
In states like Washington, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents has increased in the past two years. In Washington state alone, there have been over 90 fatal motorcycle accidents in 2019 and then 2020. The number of fatal motorcycle accidents over the past two years in Washington state I have been the highest on record since 1982. Tragically, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents has increased across the United States over the past couple of years, and government safety agencies are working hard to identify solutions.
According to Shelly Baldwin, director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, her agency is very concerned about the increase in fatal motorcycle accidents, and their agency is dedicated do you helping remind motorists to watch out for motorcyclists. She believes that if motorcyclists work to improve their driving skills, motor vehicle drivers stay vigilant about looking out for motorcyclists, and if everyone remains sober and obey speed limits, the number of these fatal accidents will fall dramatically.
Motorcycle accident statistics from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and the Department of Licensing show that approximately 2/3 of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another motor vehicle. The data also suggest that the other common factors that cause fatal motorcycle accidents include unsafe driving by the motorcyclist, speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, improper passing, and failing to navigate turns. As the data suggest, many lives each year could be saved if motorcyclists drove more defensively and safely while other motorists looked out for motorcyclists on the road.
Ryan Jackson, the assistant administrator for the Department of Licensing in Washington state, said that the DOL is committed to improving motorcycle safety, motorcycle driver training, and working with other agencies to help reduce the number of fatal and non-fatal motorcycle accidents in the state of Washington. Mr. Jackson believes many lives could be saved if motorcyclists engaged in reoccurring operator training, made better decisions, and operated a motorcycle within their skill level.
The owner and trainer of Washington Safety Training, Chris Johnson, said that the number of people buying motorcycles and taking motorcycle safety courses is increased in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. So, there may be a lot more new motorcycle operators on roadways than ever before, and drivers need to pay attention and drive more defensively.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of fatal motorcycle accidents in the United States decreased by .5% in 2018. However, in 2019, the Accident data suggest that motorcyclists were 29 times more likely to be killed than passengers in a motor vehicle based on the “per vehicle mile driven“ statistic. In addition, motorcyclists were four times more likely to be involved in an accident and sustain severe injuries.
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