DOL working to raise awareness of motorcycles

May 24, 2012



OLYMPIA—As temperatures rise across our state this season, the Department of Licensing (DOL) would like to remind drivers to watch out for an increasing number of motorcycles on our streets and highways.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.

DOL will continue the agency’s “Look Twice, Save a Life” public information campaign this summer to work on increasing motorist awareness of motorcycles.

Since 2008, the number of other drivers failing to yield the right of way to motorcyclists has dropped by approximately 20 percent, according to collision data compiled by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Gov. Chris Gregoire issued a proclamation declaring May as Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month and called on motorcyclists and drivers alike to work on improving motorcycle safety this year.

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.

DOL Director Alan Haight encourages all riders to take advantage of our state’s excellent network of motorcycle training schools.

“There are motorcycle safety classes out there for riders of all abilities,” Haight said. “These classes are critical for beginners, but also can help more experienced riders shake the rust off after a long winter and introduce new skills to increase riders’ safety and fun.” 

Motorcycle training and endorsement info on the webhttp://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/motorcycles.html


On multi-lane freeways, keep right, except to pass

March 7, 2011

As Spring arrives, so do the motorcycles

March 23, 2010

With warmer temperatures and sunny skies around the corner, the number of motorcycles on the roadway grows. 

The Washington State Patrol strongly suggests that motorists keep special watch for motorcycles.  For example, when stopping at stop signs, check twice before proceeding.

“With the increased number of motorcyclists on the road comes the potential for more motorcycle collisions,” said WSP Captain Ken Ginnard.

The WSP recommends that riders watch for road construction, traffic congestion and surrounding vehicles.  It’s a sentiment shared by Department of Licensing motorcycle safety technical specialist Tom Fite.

“Always be alert for sudden changes in traffic and keep a margin of safety around you,” Fite said.

Motorcycle collision data show that approximately 60-percent of motorcycle fatalities are single-vehicle incidents.  The most common causes of these incidents are excessive speed, impaired driving and the inability to stay in the lane of travel.

“Whether it’s your first ride of the season or you ride frequently, be mentally prepared,” Fite said. “Challenge yourself to sharpen your riding skills. If you are aware of any bad riding habits you have, now is the time to make a decision to change.”

The DOL and WSP require that motorcyclists be properly trained, always ride with their headlights on and that they wear bright clothing and proper safety equipment, including a DOT-certified helmet.  Riders must also have the proper motorcycle endorsement.


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