It’s motorcycle season; be careful out there

  • Fri Mar 19th, 2010 11:10pm
  • News

By Jackson Holtz Herald Writer

MARYSVILLE — Clear skies and warm temperatures forecast for today should make it a perfect day to rev up a motorcycle for the first time this season.

The great weather has a darker side too, officials said. They’re concerned that the return to the roads of so many motorcycles could have fatal consequences.

“The last thing we want to investigate is a serious injury or fatality collision, especially involving a motorcycle,” Washington State Patrol trooper Keith Leary said. “Most riders are safe riders; it’s the select few who choose to ignore safety that get into trouble.”

Statistics show that 60 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes involved excessive speed or a driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, said Penny Nerup, a spokeswoman for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Most motorcycle deaths occur in summer months, in daylight hours and among men over 40, she said.

“With the increased number of motorcyclists on the road comes the potential for more motorcycle collisions,” Washington State Patrol Capt. Ken Ginnard said.

Traffic safety officials are urging motorcycle riders to driver safely. Road construction, traffic congestion and other vehicles pose serious risks for motorcyclists.

Officials recommend that motorcyclists be properly trained, ride with headlights on, wear brightly colored clothing and use proper safety equipment.

Last year, the state Legislature made it mandatory for motorcycle riders to wear a federally certified helmet; police can stop motorcycle riders if they’re not wearing the proper equipment.

Motorcycle drivers also are required to be properly licensed. They risk having their bike impounded if they’re stopped and not carrying a license with an endorsement.

People driving cars and trucks have a role in motorcycle safety, too, Ginnard said.

“Keep special watch for motorcycles,” he said. “When stopping at stop signs, check twice before proceeding.”

Reporter Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437,

Tips for spring motorcycle safety

Many people may be riding motorcycles this weekend for the first time this season thanks to sunny skies and warm temperatures. Officials urge all drivers to be extra cautious. Here are some simple tips:

  • Never drink and drive.

    Obey speed limits, and don’t drive beyond your abilities.

    Use proper safety gear, and drive with lights on.

    It’s illegal to drive a motorcycle without proper endorsements.

    Vehicle drivers need to remember that motorcycles can be difficult to see. Check twice before changing lanes.

    Source: Washington State Patrol