Motorcycle safety emphasis in effect as more riders fill Grays Harbor

Ocean Shores, WA – The Washington State Patrol and local agencies will be conducting additional patrols this weekend for the Hog Wild Motorcycle Rally.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission says that in a continued effort to reduce motorcycle crashes, increased safety patrols will be visible today through Sunday during the Hog Wild Beach event near Ocean Shores.

They say the patrols will focus on illegal driving behaviors by both motorcycle riders and other vehicle drivers. 

Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office, Aberdeen PD, Hoquiam PD, Ocean Shores PD, Westport PD, and the Washington State Patrol will be working overtime focused on drivers and riders who commit traffic safety violations.

“Motorcyclists are vulnerable road users and continue to be over-represented in deadly crashes across Washington State,” said Grays Harbor Undersheriff Brad Johansson. “These crashes are preventable and our agencies within Grays Harbor are working together to ensure riders safety during this event.”

These patrols are part of the Traffic Safety Commission’s motorcycle safety education campaign known as “It’s a Fine Line.” 

From 2013 through 2017, motorcycles made up just 3 percent of the registered vehicles on Washington’s roads, but accounted for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities. 

Of these fatal motorcycle crashes, 53 percent were single motorcycle crashes where no other vehicle was involved, and 75 percent were traced to causal factors committed by the motorcyclist. 

Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, speeding, and running off the road are the main contributing factors in all motor vehicle deaths including motorcycles.

Data from Washington’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan: Target Zero:

Year  Total Traffic Fatalities Motorcycle Fatalities Percentage of Total
2013 436  73 17%
2014 462  69  15%
2015 551  75  14%
2016 536  81  15%
2017 565  80  14%
Totals 2,550 378  15%

The federal government estimates that, per vehicle mile traveled, the number of deaths on motorcycles is over 26 times the number in cars.

In the last five years (2013-2017) in Washington, an average of 76 motorcyclists died each year.

The common belief that most motorcycle crashes are caused by other motorists is inaccurate. In actuality, 75% of all fatalities are due to motorcycle rider error. When we break this down by type of motorcycle, sport bikes are overrepresented — 86% of their fatalities were rider-caused.

Impairment by drugs and/or alcohol, speeding, and improper passing are the major risk factors for most serious injury and fatal motorcycle crashes.

Washington is using education for both motorcycle operators and other vehicle drivers, as well as a focus on training and licensing endorsement, to address motorcycle fatalities and serious injuries.

Motorcycle riders involved in fatal and serious injury crashes are primarily male, comprising 90% of the fatalities during 2013–2017.

Currently, motorcycles may be purchased and registered in Washington without a valid motorcycle endorsement. This contributed to the fact that from 2013–2017, over 1/3 of riders involved in fatal crashes were not endorsed to be riding a motorcycle.

Washington deadly crash data is available by state and county here: