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Scott McDonald and Associates PLLC

2009 Motorcycle Fatality Statistics

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In the State of Washington during 2009 there were 69 fatalities related to Washington motorcycle accidents.  The Evergreen Safety Council compiled the following numbers from the Washington Department of Licensing and the FARS report.  Some of the contributing factors to 2009's fatal motorcycle accidents include:

23 of 69 fatalities (33.3%) had a BAC level of .08% or above
23 of 69 Motorcycle fatalities (33.3%) were impaired by drugs
No Helmet:
9 of 69 Motorcycle fatalities (13%) were not using helmets or used helmets improperly
Lack of Endorsement:
13 of 62 Motorcycle drivers (20.9%) did not have a motorcycle endorsement
39 of 62 motorcycle drivers (62.9%) were speeding
43 of 62 of motorcycle fatalities (69.3%) died in crashes involving speed
45 of 62 motorcycle drivers (72.5%) had no motorcycle safety training.

Obviously riding a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is highly dangerous.  The dangers are more so because you're on a motorcycle with much less room for error than when in a car.  Washington laws require you to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle.  Helmets save lives, I'm sure the number would be higher without this law.  The stats also seem to support the old saying "speed kills."  When over half of the yearly fatalities involve speed as a factor that is concerning.  Riding the speed limit seems to be a quick way to save a huge number of lives.

Does having a motorcycle endorsement on your driver's license and/or taking a motorcycle safety class mean you are less likely to be involved in a fatal Washington motorcycle accident? Maybe, maybe not. But the endorsement is required under Washington law and safety courses will only make you a better rider. There may not be an absolute direct link to failure to have either an endorsement or rider training, but being better educated about the rules of the road and how to ride safely can't be a bad thing.

Your family is probably already scared that you may be killed riding your bike. I know my mom and my wife fear the worst whenever I'm out riding. Don't become one of these statistics this year. Use common sense, ride within your limits, watch out for other vehicles as they probably don't see you, and ride safe!

Max Meyers 

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