Too many wild rides

A rash of deadly motorcycle crashes has State Patrol troopers cracking down on speeding and reckless bikers.

Kevin Nortz / The Herald

A motorcyclist attempts a stunt while driving south on I-5 Monday in Seattle.

State troopers have investigated seven motorcycle accidents, including crashes that resulted in five fatalities, in Snohomish and Skagit counties in less than two months.

“We’re seeing motorcyclists speed and drive aggressively. We’re going to crack down,” State Patrol trooper and spokesman Lance Ramsay said.

A Lake Stevens man, 48, and a Bellingham woman, 41, on a motorcycle were killed near Lake Stevens on July 25 after colliding with a pickup on Highway 204. Investigators believe the motorcycle was traveling in a turn lane and collided head-on with the approaching truck.

A week earlier, an Everett man, 19, died after he crashed his motorcycle into a sign on northbound I-5 in Everett. Investigators believe he was speeding and lost control.

Excessive speed has been the cause of the majority of the crashes, Ramsay said.

The number of motorcycle deaths across the country has increased for seven years in a row, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Motorcycle fatalities grew nearly 8 percent last year to 4,008, the first time the number has topped 4,000 since 1987.

Last year, 72 people were killed in motorcycle accidents in Washington, according to the State Patrol. That number represented 14 percent of all fatal accidents investigated by troopers.

From January to June, the State Patrol investigated 28 deadly motorcycle crashes statewide, which makes up about 20 percent of all fatal accidents this year.

Last year, Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives investigated nine serious motorcycle crashes that resulted in seven deaths, sheriff’s deputy Rich Niebusch said.

Police receive numerous complaints about motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic and even doing stunts on the freeway.

“People are afraid that these guys are going to crash, and they’re going to run them over,” Ramsay said.

The warm summer weather is expected to bring more motorcyclists out on the roads.

Drivers are advised to use extra caution when traveling in traffic with motorcyclists. Bikes are often difficult to see, especially if they are speeding.

The State Patrol uses its airplanes to track down speeding bikers.

It can be too dangerous for police to chase speeding and aggressive motorcyclists on the highway, Ramsay said.

Planes can follow speeders from the air and radio their locations to troopers on the ground.

“We’re actively looking for these motorcyclists. One death, let alone five, is too many,” Ramsay said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers speaks to the crowd during an opening ceremony at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County executive pitches $1.66B budget

Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers announced his proposed budget Tuesday afternoon. Public comment is slated to begin Oct. 10.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Jamel Alexander, center, listens as a Snohomish County jury records their verdict of guilty, in the murder of Shawna Brune, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  Alexander was convicted in the first degree murder of Brune. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Appeals court orders new trial in Everett woman’s stomping death

Appellate judges ruled that additional evidence should have been admitted in Jamel Alexander’s trial for the murder of Shawna Brune.

Kristy Carrington, CEO of Providence Swedish of North Puget Sound, speaks during a Healthcare Summit at Everett Community College on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Providence, Optum and Premera discuss challenges at Everett summit

Five panelists spoke on labor shortages, high costs and health care barriers Wednesday at Everett Community College.

Most Read