(Olympia)-- This just in….
Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste did not issue a warning today about an increase in motorcycle crashes with the coming good weather. Batiste did not order troopers to crack down on dangerous riding behavior. He did not exhort them to greater effort in preventing the kind of riding behavior that frequently results in tragedy.
Each spring with the arrival of good weather the State Patrol sees a jump in rider fatalities. Why would Batiste not tell his troopers to get busy?
“What order could I give that would be more powerful than their own experience investigating these completely preventable tragedies?” Batiste asked. “Troopers see these crashes first-hand. They help load injured riders in ambulances, and frequently have to make death notifications to stunned families.”
In other words, you can bet troopers will be cracking down on irresponsible riding behavior.
“I just don’t need to issue an order,” Batiste said. “Our troopers have their own personal and sometimes heartbreaking reasons for taking strong action.”
In 2013, 73 riders were killed in motorcycle collisions. In the majority of motorcycle fatalities, the rider is the causing driver. In about half, there’s not even another vehicle involved.
“This isn’t about clueless drivers pulling out of their driveways in front of motorcycles. Riders themselves have the power to change this horrible statistic,” Batiste said.
Just as with autos, speed and impaired driving are the biggest causes of death for riders. In particular, the desire to swoop through corners at high speed leads to riders losing control and leaving the roadway.
Inexperience is often significant contributing factor. Younger riders on sport bikes, and older first-time riders on big cruising bikes seem to be most at risk for losing control and crashing.