EVERETT - The thrill of the open road is proving increasingly deadly to motorcycle riders, many of whom are ill-prepared for handling their choppers, the Washington State Patrol says.
Nearly 40 people have died in motorcycle crashes around the state this year. Since 1999 the number of motorcycles licensed in the state is up 60 percent, while the number of motorcycle deaths has risen by 89 percent, Trooper Kirk H. Rudeen said.
The patrol is planning a crackdown on aggressive motorcycle driving using aerial surveillance and infrared cameras this week.
The latest death occurred Monday when Pamela B. Farrell, 58, of Shoreline, was riding beside her husband when her motorcycle went off U.S. 2 and down an embankment west of Stevens Pass. Weather did not appear to be a factor and the cause of the crash remained under investigation, troopers said.
"We're seeing people dying who are between 45 and 60. They can afford to get their first bike or take it up after a hiatus," Rudeen said.