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Arizona motorcycle deaths on pace to match last year’s totals

The deaths of two people this week are adding to the growing numbers of victims of fatal motorcycle crashes in Arizona this year.

One biker was killed Tuesday when he was struck by an alleged drunk driver on the Loop 303 and Peoria avenue.  Another person was died in an accident Wednesday in Tonopah.

At least 66 people have died in motorcycle related accidents so far this year in Arizona.  The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reported that 64 had died as of June 30.

“I was very surprised that we lost 20 people during March 2015, and 14 the month after,” said Alberto Gutier, the Director of the Office of Highway Safety.  “I guess those are big motorcycle riding months for a lot of people because of great weather.”

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says that bikers need to make sure that they are wearing a helmet and taking every precaution they can to be safe.

DPS Officer Quentin Mehr used to ride a motorcycle while off-duty and plans to buy another one soon.  There are several things he thinks about when he rides.   “What I’m looking for is ‘What are other motorists doing?  Do they see me?  I’m coming up to a turn, and I’m going to turn left.  Is oncoming traffic aware that I’m here?  Just being aware of your total surroundings,” Mehr said.

He noted that many times, the accident is not the biker’s fault, but bikers need to be ready if other drivers make a mistake.

“Drivers in four wheels sometimes aren’t looking out for motorcycles, so you’ve got to be aware of what’s going on around you,” said DPS Officer Quentin Mehr.

The state is on a pace to at least match the number of fatal motorcycle accidents last year, when 129 people died.  Mehr said that’s 25 fewer than in 2013.

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