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.
The State Patrol has responded to 17 motorcycle fatalities this year, according to a news release. Twelve occurred in April, including two in north Snohomish County.
On April 13, a 61-year-old Snohomish woman died when she lost control near the 23300 block of Pioneer Highway in Stanwood, according to the sheriff’s office.
On April 17, a 62-year-old Arlington man died after colliding with a Jeep driven by a Camano Island resident at the intersection of Highway 9 and 252nd Street NE north of Arlington, according to the Washington State Patrol.
In 2019, 92 motorcyclists died along state roads — the highest number since 1982, according to the State Patrol.
The leading causes of the crashes have been speed, inexperience or intoxication, the State Patrol said.
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, according to the news release.
“Slow down,” Axtman told Skagit Publishing. “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.”