Would you trade up the classic premise of a beloved game to possibly save a life? The time-honored rules of “slug bug” dictate that if you’ve first engaged your ride mates into the game, that you can give them a good-natured tap if you’re the first to spot and announce a Volkswagen Beetle anywhere in your line of sight. There’s a popular idea trending online right now, suggesting that rather than teaching the traditional rules of “slug bug”, we ought to be substituting motorcycles, on the premise that teaching your children early on to spot riders may imbue them with the same inclination to notice motorcycles later on in life.
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, motorcycle fatalities involving multiple cars (or anything more than the single driver of the bike) account for 58% of all deaths of bike accidents. 62% of all motorcycle fatalities in 2014 were with helmeted drivers. Washington is one of 19 states along with the District of Columbia that enforce helmet law. Washington stands out for also offering a state subsidized rider course, which encourage an “all the gear all the time” (ATGATT) mind set, with rigorous hours atop a bike and also in a classroom before one can be granted an endorsement. Riders are encouraged to practice safety above all else, but none of this means that all riders you see are licensed, or believe that they need body gear while riding.
Summer months mean that we will be seeing more motorcycles sharing the road. Locally, in the city of Snohomish, the 20th Annual Sky Valley Motorcycle Show was held in mid-May, and the massive annual Oyster Run (which has topped at over 20,000 bikes in the past) is coming up in September. But, of course it’s hard to miss 20,000 riders cruising down the road, over even ten riders in a group. Raising our awareness on our local roads, where we can sometimes get complacent and comfortable, or taking an extra moment to look twice before pulling through an intersection or into a passing lane is where much of the positive change takes place.
The most popular roads for motorcycle enthusiasts include the State Route 20, also known as the North Cascades Highway, Highway 530 that runs from Arlington to Rockport and includes the memorial for the Oso Slide, as well as shorter treks such as Lowell Road in Everett, and Burn Road in Arlington.