Everyone Has a Responsibility to Keep Motorcyclists Safe

June 9, 2014
Be sure to look out for motorcycles.

Be sure to look out for motorcycles.

OLYMPIA—Summer is here and the Department of Licensing, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, and the Department of Transportation are reminding drivers of cars, trucks and buses to look out for, and share the road with, motorcycle riders.

 
To raise awareness about tragic but preventable motorcycle crashes, 17 large road signs are scheduled to be installed this summer in locations across Washington where fatal motorcycle crashes are highest. These signs should remain in place for 10 to 15 years.
 
“Increasing safe motorcycle riding and cooperation among all road users is essential to reaching Washington’s goal of zero traffic deaths by 2030,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “Motorists and motorcyclists are all responsible for making sure everyone arrives home safely.”
 
In Washington, motorcycle deaths are not steadily declining like overall traffic deaths. Motorcycles make up just 4 percent of the registered vehicles on our roads, but account for almost 15 percent of the traffic fatalities (2009-2011 average). Even worse, in 2012, motorcycle fatalities accounted for 19 percent (83 out of 438) of the total traffic fatalities in our state.
 
On a per-vehicle-mile basis, motorcyclists are more than 30 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of cars, and five times more likely to be injured. Speeding, running off the road, and riding under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs are the main contributing factors in these crashes. Motorcyclists should always ride sober and within the posted speed limits, get the required training and endorsement, and wear DOT compliant helmets and protective gear.

Wearing an illegal motorcycle helmet could come at a price

March 14, 2010

by Kyle McCarty

Do you know about the change in Washington’s motorcycle helmet law that went into effect last year?  If not, be advised:  Wearing an illegal helmet may not only compromise your safety, it could also take a chunk out of your wallet.

The ticket for wearing an illegal helmet?  $124.

Aiming to reduce the number of fatalities among motorcyclists, the Washington State Patrol is looking for riders wearing illegal helmets.

Helmet laws have been created to increase the safety of motorcycle riders and passengers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal motorcycle crashes have risen 50-percent since the late ’90s.

The “DOT” seal of approval is something to look for when shopping for motorcycle helmets.  Not all helmets have one.  A helmet with a DOT symbol means you have a high-quality motorcycle helmet that complies with US Department of Transportation construction standards.

On July 26th, 2009, Washington state revised its helmet law to reflect the federal motor vehicle standardWashington’s law now includes the following:

For purposes of this section, “motorcycle helmet” means a protective covering for the head consisting of a hard outer shell, padding adjacent to and inside the outer shell, and a neck or chin strap type retention system, with the manufacturer’s certification applied in accordance with 49 C.F.R. Sec. 571.218 indicating that the motorcycle helmet meets standards established by the United States department of transportation.

Simply stated, DOT helmets are much safer than novelty helmets.  Think you know the differences between a DOT helmet and a novelty one?  Check-out this pamphlet (pdf / 3.9 MB) to make certain that you do.  After all, it might not only save you money.  It could save your life.

For more information about this important topic, please click here.