Motorcycle Fatalities Surge in Washington State
Motorcycle Crashes Rise In Washington State - Motorcyclist tombstone

Fatal motorcycle crashes in Washington state have tragically increased in recent years according to new data released by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) and Washington Department of Licensing (DOL). The number of motorcyclist fatalities jumped from an average of 85 per year from 2017-2019 to an alarming average of 107 per year from 2020-2022. The year 2022 saw a staggering 133 motorcycle rider deaths, and preliminary data shows an all-time high of 137 motorcyclist fatalities in 2023.

“We are in a public health crisis on our roads, and the increasing number of serious motorcycle crashes is very concerning,” said Mark Medalen, Motorcycle Safety Program Manager at the WTSC. “Safety is proactive and responsibility is shared. Deaths and serious injuries on our roads are unacceptable.”

Motorcycle Fatalities Surge In Washington State - Motorcylcle laying on it's side with driver's helmet beside it after being hit by a car.

Rider Actions Contribute to Most Crashes

The WTSC’s analysis found that the majority of motorcycle wrecks involved specific dangerous actions taken by the motorcyclist, such as:

  • Speeding
  • Losing control in corners and curves
  • Improper passing
  • Riding under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs

“The Department of Licensing is committed to working with riders, training providers, and other agencies to improve rider safety in Washington,” said Robert Willis, Washington State Motorcycle Safety Program Manager. “We know that a trained rider is a safer rider and we encourage motorcyclists to enhance their skills to enhance their ride.”

Drivers Must Watch for Motorcycles

With more motorcycle riders on Washington’s roads and highways this time of year, it’s critical that drivers of cars, trucks, and other vehicles stay alert and watch out for motorcycles. Drivers should:

  • Look twice for motorcycles before changing lanes, turning left, or entering traffic
  • Always check blind spots
  • Learn to search for and recognize motorcycles
  • Give motorcycles plenty of following distance
  • Practice space management around motorcycles

Drivers can help prevent tragic motorcycle accidents by staying aware and sharing the road safely with motorcyclists. Together, we can work to reverse this concerning trend and save lives on Washington’s roads.

For more rider education, testing, training, endorsement, and safety information, visit:

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