With temperatures rising, the State Patrol is urging caution in the face of a rising trend of motorcycle fatalities.

“Historically, leading into the summer months we see an increase in serious injury and fatalities in motorcycle crashes,” said Trooper Heather Axtman with the State Patrol.

So far this year, the State Patrol has responded to 17 motorcycle fatalities, according to a news release. Twelve occurred in April.

In 2019, 92 motorcyclists died along state roads — the highest number since 1982, the release states.

The leading causes of the crashes have been speed, inexperience or intoxication, the release states.

As roads remain relatively empty due to decreased traffic as a result of Gov. Jay Inslee’s ongoing “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, troopers are seeing more incidents involving speed, including one vehicle driving 192 mph, the release states.

“Slow down,” Axtman told the Skagit Valley Herald. “It may save your life. Or someone else’s.”

Some drivers, including motorcyclists, attempt to speed to evade troopers trying to stop them, the release states. While troopers may discontinue a pursuit due to high speeds, the State Patrol often also has an air unit tracking the eluding driver and coordinating with other troopers to stop the driver.

“Just because the roadways are more open does not mean the speed limit has changed,” Axtman said. “We are still out there working and stopping these extremely dangerous drivers because we are always on scene when (their) luck runs out. We see every crash and what that looks like and the devastation to families for something so preventable.”

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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