Motorcycle fatalities surge in August | Many accidents caused by rider errors

A motorcyclist enters the eastbound I-90 HOV lane along 80th Avenue S.E. on Mercer Island, Sept. 2. - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
A motorcyclist enters the eastbound I-90 HOV lane along 80th Avenue S.E. on Mercer Island, Sept. 2.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

As the warm days continue, the Department of Licensing is urging motorcycle riders to use caution when out riding. Forty-eight riders have lost their lives so far this year, an increase over this time last year.

Adding to the statistics are inexperienced riders, turning to fuel-efficient motorcycles in response to skyrocketing gas prices. Some are unaware that they need an endorsement and training to legally operate their new moped or “scooter.” If a motorcycle’s engine is larger than 49 cubic centimeters or is capable of traveling faster than 30 miles per hour, the operator is required to have an endorsement.

“Most of the people who die on motorcycles haven’t taken any form of rider training,” said Steve Stewart, manager, DOL Motorcycle Safety Program. “Riding a motorcycle takes a lot of mental preparation and planning. Training helps you learn how to escape when life or death situations arise on the road.”

And not having that endorsement can cost you.

The ticket is $124, but police can also impound the motorcycle, racking up impound and storage fees. Average impound costs depend on local towing companies’ rates, plus WSP impound costs and storage costs per day; it can really add up.

For more information on training and endorsement, visit

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