Ride Safe Summer Overview
Summer is here in the Northwest, and we’ll see more motorcycles on Washington roadways. When more riders are on the road, we have more fatal crashes, with July, August, and September accounting for nearly half of all fatal motorcycle crashes.
Motorcycle riders are vulnerable road users. And while motorcycles make up only 3% of registered vehicles, they have accounted for 15% of all traffic fatalities over the last five years. Since 2019, more than 90 motorcycle riders died in crashes each year, the most fatal crashes in Washington since 1982.
Starting on July 8, high visibility enforcement (HVE) campaigns in select counties across the state will work to prevent motorcycle crashes. These enforcement efforts have a demonstrated impact on rider and driver behavior. We hope you will help to promote these efforts on social media.
There are also numerous motorcycle gatherings and events throughout the summer that provide opportunities for motorcycle safety messaging. We’ve added a calendar to this month’s campaign to help you plan your messaging around these events.
Freedom to Ride Doesn’t Need to Come at a Price
- Most motorcycle riders practice safety, but a small number account for a large share of all fatal crashes in Washington.
- While motorcycles make up only 3% of registered Washington vehicles, they have accounted for 15% of all traffic fatalities over the last five years.
- For the past three years, we’ve lost more than 90 motorcycle riders each year, the most fatal crashes in Washington since 1982.
- Motorcycle crashes are preventable. Some riders have a misperception that most crashes are caused by another car driver. Yet 70% of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2021 were the result of rider behavior or rider error.
Riders Must Create Their Own Safety
- Riders should always wear U.S. Department of Transportation approved helmets and other protective gear.
- Riders must always ride sober, within safe speeds, and be aware of their surroundings.
- Riders should complete beginner and advanced rider training to have the skills to help keep themselves safe.
- A motorcycle license endorsement is required legally ride in Washington State. Endorsed riders are less likely to be involved in fatal collisions when compared to unendorsed riders.
High Visibility Enforcement to Reinforce Safe Riding this Summer
- High visibility enforcement (HVE) campaigns will encourage motorcyclists to ride safe this summer.
- HVE campaigns will also encourage other motorists to watch out for motorcycles and operate safely around motorcycles.
- HVE campaigns are planned for King, Pierce, Snohomish, Clark, Yakima, and Spokane counties.
- A recent NHTSA study has demonstrated that these HVE campaigns are a deterrent to risky driving behavior, and are shown to reduce crashes.
More than 90 motorcyclists died in the last three years on Washington roads (2019-2021). This is the highest number of motorcyclist fatalities in our state in the last 40 years (since 1982).
Source: Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) – Research and Data Division
For the last five years (2017-2021), an average of 88 motorcyclists died each year on Washington’s roads. Source: WTSC
|Year||Total Traffic Fatalities||Motorcycle Fatalities||Percentage of Total|
Per vehicle mile traveled in 2019, motorcyclists were about 29 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a crash and 4 times more likely to be seriously injured.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
While motorcyclists are vulnerable road users and already face an elevated risk, many crashes resulted from dangerous behavior.
- 70% of fatal crashes last year were the result of rider behavior or rider error. When motorcycle riders engage in risky behavior, the consequences are often deadly.
- 53% of fatal crashes involved impairment with drugs or alcohol
- 47% of fatal crashes involved speeding
Source: WTSC Coded Fatal Crash Files https://wtsc.wa.gov/research-data/fatalities-dashboard/
Sample Social Media Posts
The following are sample graphics and related content that we encourage you to use on your organization’s social media. Feel free to adapt for use on your website or customized emails too.
Find a motorcycle training school near you and learn to ride safely. Get started on your motorcycle endorsement today. #MotorcycleSafety https://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/motoschools.html
Summer Motorcycle Events Calendar
High visibility enforcement patrols
Teddy Bear Rally – Sumner, WA
Bikers at the Beach – Ocean Shores, WA
Kickback Campout – Ethel, WA
Run to the Desert Motorcycle Rally – Soap Lake, WA
Run for the Hills Benefit Ride – Puyallup to Enumclaw, WA
Oyster Run – Anacortes, WA