News release

May 5, 2011

State leaders announce motorcycle safety campaign

OLYMPIA — The chief of the Washington State Patrol and the director of the Department of Licensing today announced a major motorcycle safety outreach campaign for the summer, geared to reduce motorcycle-related injuries and fatalities.

“It happens every year,” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste. “The good weather arrives and so do these needless tragedies. We’re going to try and get ahead of the game with very strict enforcement.”

Last year, 67 motorcyclists died on Washington roads, a slight increase from 2009.

“We have some riders who are impaired by drugs or alcohol, inexperienced riders out there without a motorcycle endorsement and some motorists who, frankly, need to pay more attention to the road,” said Liz Luce, the director of DOL. “We’re focused on reducing these three major problems.”

Batiste noted that most fatal motorcycle collisions are the fault of the rider. But he also says automobile drivers need to pay more attention.

“Riders and drivers both have a role to play in saving lives,” he said.

The DOL’s “Look Twice, Save a Life” campaign will reach millions of drivers across the state and about 24,000 unendorsed motorcycle owners. Gov. Chris Gregoire also issued a proclamation declaring May as Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month. The state’s Traffic Safety Commission is also playing a role in the outreach effort.

Riders can be difficult to see on busy roads because of their smaller size and profile. Motorists should take an extra second to be aware of what’s around them. An extra look could save a life.

The top three rider-causes of motorcycle crashes are alcohol or drug impairment, improper lane position and speeding. To legally operate a motorcycle on Washington roads, riders must have a driver license endorsement—or they could see their bike impounded even after a simple traffic stop.

Motorcycle training and endorsement info on the web: www.EndorseYourSport.com.

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