The Ugly Truth about living in the Pacific Northwest is the rider’s write-off.
Come every November 1st, our brains (accurately) forecast at least three months of rain, bitter cold (or maybe both, plus some snow and ice), depending on where in the state we reside.
Then maybe we catch a break in February, but come March-April-May…well, who knows? Doesn’t look awesome. At least June warms up! Although, it can be a little wet then too, especially west of the Cascades.
The Ugly Truth: Most Washington riders write-off roughly nine months of good times in exchange for the high percentage chance July and August and September will produce the stellar conditions that make motorcycling in the Pacific Northwest (arguably) the best in the country.
Sounds like a difficult trade, but it’s worth it, as if we earn the privilege to enjoy a summer on two wheels (instead of it being handed to us 300 days a year, at which point we’d likely take it for granted—looking at you, Southern Californians).
Plus, there’s a certain pride in this resilience we have, right? It’s not as if our bikes stay in the garage for those nine months of questionable weather. We still hit the road, deal with cold, treacherous conditions, general discomfort—and feel that much better as part of the process, maybe even SUPERIOR to an “it’s-always-fair-weather-here” rider from say Florida (we’ve picked on California enough).
Nonetheless, come July, it’s game on, it’s what we’ve been WAITING for.
More motorcycles travel on Washington’s roads in the summer months than any other time of the year. Unfortunately, summer is also the time when, historically, more motorcycle riders are killed or injured in crashes. In a continued effort to reduce these crashes, increased High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) safety patrols will be visible July 8-24 in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Clark, Yakima, and Spokane Counties.
The patrols will focus on illegal driving behaviors by both motorcycle riders and other vehicle drivers. The Washington State Patrol will be working with city, county, and tribal law enforcement agencies focused on drivers and riders who commit traffic safety violations. From 2017 through 2021, motorcycles made up just 3 percent of the registered vehicles on Washington’s roads but accounted for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities (441 of 2,877). Of these fatal motorcycle crashes, more than half were single motorcycle crashes where no other vehicle was involved, and 70 percent were traced to causal factors committed by the motorcyclist.
Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol, speeding, and running off the road are the main contributing factors in all motor vehicle deaths including motorcycles. Safe habits like completing beginner and advanced rider training, wearing a USDOT-approved helmet and proper gear, respecting speed limits, and riding sober can help prevent deaths and serious injuries during peak riding season in the Northwest.
In June 2022, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a study supporting the effectiveness of law enforcement patrols in reducing unsafe driving behavior and crashes. The WTSC and participating law enforcement agencies condemn profiling. Trained and commissioned law enforcement officers will be conducting these patrols enforcing traffic violations as defined by Washington State laws.
In addition to enforcement, other HVE elements you can expect to see include:
- Social media and paid educational messages
- Electronic message boards
- Pop-up or variable message road signs
- Specially wrapped vehicles
- Flyers or brochures handed out to motorists
Remember, the idea is to keep us all safe this summer, so we can give you a wave next summer. Or even this winter, depending on how hard it’s raining…or how cold it is.
Ride Safe – Ride On
Extra patrols are partially funded by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission with the coordination of the King County Target Zero Task Force. The Task Force brings together representatives from law enforcement, public health, health and human services, transportation and community organizations to coordinate traffic safety campaigns throughout King County.
It’s a Fine Line is an inclusive community of motorcycle riders advocating one common mission: zero motorcycle deaths by 2030. We share videos and stories about motorcycle events, rides, clubs, gear, safety, and training because we believe that together we can save the lives of our friends, our families, and our communities.