A 23-year-old Bothell man died Monday evening after crashing on a motorcycle in Shoreline, making him at least the fourth motorcyclist to die within one week in the Puget Sound region.
Two bikers died in separate crashes that were reported May 1 in Pierce County, according to the Washington State Patrol. The following day, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office investigated a motorcyclist’s death in Granite Falls.
Monday’s crash occurred when the motorcyclist, Jason Charles Yu, was headed east on Highway 523 around 6:30 p.m. The state patrol said he was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic when a woman driving a Honda Fit made a left turn in front of Yu at 17th Avenue Northeast.
Yu struck the side of the car and was fatally injured, police said. The 52-year-old driver of the car wasn’t injured, according to police.
State patrol Trooper Jeff Sevigny, who is part of the Eastern Washington Motorcycle Unit, said this time of year is particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, as many are taking their bikes out for their first rides of the year and may be a little rusty. He recommends practicing each spring before hitting the road.
Motorcycle riders, unsurprisingly, fare far worse than car drivers in crashes. They’re smaller, less stable and lack the protection of a closed vehicle.
In 2016, the number of deaths per mile traveled on motorcycles was nearly 28 times the number of deaths per mile traveled by car occupants, according to the institutes.
And fatalities among motorcycle drivers and passengers are on the rise. In 2017, the most recent year data is available through IIHS, 5,172 motorcyclists died in crashes, more than twice as many as in 1997.
Sevigny said two of the most common avoidable factors in many deadly motorcycle crashes are alcohol or other intoxicants, and speed. He urged people to get familiar with the roads before opening the throttle.
“Get the right helmet, wear appropriate gear and long pants even if it’s a short distance; ride with the mentality that nobody sees you, and pay attention. Be on your game,” he said, “because there could something you don’t expect right around the corner.”