Motorcycle fatalities in Massachusetts have increased so far in 2021

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(WWLP) – Between January and mid-July 2021, state officials said there were 11 motorcycle fatalities in western Massachusetts and 37 statewide. Data released by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation showed at least four motorcycle fatalities in July alone.

Those 37 motorcycle fatalities in the first half of 2021 represented a 31% increase over the previous five years. Additionally, Mass.gov claims that automobile drivers, not motorcyclists, are responsible for more than two-thirds of motorcycle crashes. Often, drivers only see the motorcyclist when it is too late to avoid an accident.

Check out first semester statistics in Western Massachusetts:

Berkshire County

  1. June 7, 10:54 a.m. (male operator) East St. + Newell St., Pittsfield
  2. May 20, 11:31 p.m. (male operator) 213 Main Street, Williamstown
  3. April 24, 1:00 p.m. (male operator) Government Dr., Pittsfield
  4. April 19, 12:40 p.m. (male operator) Curran Memorial Hwy. + South State Street, North Adams

Hampden County

  1. July 23, 12:05 p.m. (Operator unknown) I-91 SUD, MM 8.3, Chicopee
  2. April 10, 10:16 p.m. (male operator) 361 Miller Street WEST + Cislak Drive, Ludlow

Hampshire County

  1. June 5, 1:15 a.m. (male operator) Pantry Rd. + Mountain Road, Hatfield
  2. May 15, 2:09 p.m. (male operator) SR-9 + Enoch Sanford Rd., Belchertown
  3. April 14, 8:22 p.m. (male operator) 102 Amherst Rd., Belchertown

Franklin County

  1. June 6, 8:26 p.m. (male operator) 153 Millers Falls Rd., Northfield
  2. May 23, 4:51 p.m. (male operator) 97 Cave Hill Road, Leverett

Motorcycle fatalities in central and eastern Massachusetts

  1. July 24, 2:09 am (male operator) 75 Dorchester St., Quincy
  2. July 15, 7:17 p.m. (male operator) 64 Andover St., Danvers
  3. July 15, 6:07 am (male operator) Mill St. + County St., New Bedford
  4. June 30, 5:33 p.m. (male operator) 348 Central St., Franklin
  5. June 28, 8:46 p.m. (male operator) 1317 Washington St., Stoughton
  6. June 28, 8:46 p.m. (male passenger) 1317 Washington St., Stoughton
  7. June 26, 8:15 p.m. (male operator) Fort Ave., south of Winter Island Rd., Salem
  8. June 22, 12:29 p.m. (male operator) I-90 EAST, MM 131.0, Boston
  9. June 21, 7:58 p.m. (male operator) SR-20, east of I-495, Marlborough
  10. June 19, 4:15 p.m. (male operator) East Broadway + N St., Boston
  11. June 12, 12:00 a.m. (male operator) Eastern Ave. + County St., Fall River
  12. June 6, midnight (passenger) 2344 Acushnet Ave., New Bedford
  13. June 1 4:30 p.m. (male operator) 53 Catacunemaug Rd., Shirley
  14. May 16, 5:28 p.m. (male operator) Boylston St. + Brunswick St., Lowell
  15. May 15, 7:34 p.m. (male operator) Pleasant St. + Varley Rd., Marlborough
  16. May 13, 7:14 p.m. (male operator) Broadway St. + Fletcher St., Lowell
  17. May 12, 12:00 a.m. (male operator) 70 Grove Street, North Brookfield
  18. May 11, 9:48 p.m. (male operator) 50 Main Street, Medway
  19. May 8, 9 p.m. (male operator) 5 Maple Street, Norton
  20. May 1, 11:43 a.m. (male operator) SR-28 + County Rd., Rochester
  21. April 28, 1:09 am (male operator) I-93 NORTH, EXIT 38, Wilmington
  22. April 22, 12:43 p.m. (male operator) Main St. (SR-228) + Middle St. + Short St., Hingham
  23. April 11, 6:41 a.m. (male operator) 12 Huntoon Memorial Hwy., Leicester
  24. April 2, 8:17 p.m. (male operator) Elm St. + Bridge St., Templeton
  25. March 21, 12:43 p.m. (male operator) 94 Main Street + Baker Street, Kingston
  26. March 12, 6:49 p.m. (male operator) Arborway + South St., Boston

Tips for drivers

Motorcycles can be easy to miss. They are harder to spot than cars because of their smaller profile, and drivers are conditioned to look for other cars, not motorcyclists. Traffic, weather and road conditions force motorcyclists to react differently from drivers, so it is often difficult to judge or predict when a rider may swerve.

Know when accidents are likely to happen and watch out for motorcyclists. You are more likely to be involved in an accident with a motorcycle when a rider is in your blind spot, especially when making a left turn in front of them. This means that you, as the driver, should always be hyper aware of your surroundings. The security saying goes: “Double check, save a life”.

In addition, there are dangerous road conditions. Your field of vision can be blocked by sport utility vehicles, delivery vans, and large trucks. Potholes, wet leaves, train tracks, or other obstacles can force a rider to act unexpectedly. Even so, as the driver of a car, you have to drive defensively.

Motorcyclists have the same privileges as other drivers. Give motorcycles all the way to travel, and especially keep an eye out for them at intersections and on highways. Do not follow the motorcycles too closely and try to anticipate the maneuvers of a motorcyclist. For example, if you see a piece of debris in the road that your vehicle easily passes over or through, be aware that it can be fatal if struck by a biker. You can probably expect the motorcyclist to avoid the debris. Leave enough room for them to take such evasive action.

Advice for bikers

Don’t assume you are visible to a driver. As a rider, it is your responsibility to make your presence known to drivers. Choose and wear an appropriate helmet with retro-reflective materials. A helmet is your most valuable protective equipment and should be visible to drivers. Wear bright, contrasting protective clothing. If you wear dark clothes, wear a fluorescent vest.

Use headlights when driving on the freeway and use high beams instead of low beams. Also think of a modulating lighthouse.

A good position on the track is also important. It helps drivers see you and protects your driving space. Remember, if
you can see a driver in the side mirror, the driver can see you. Do not “hide” in the blind spot of a driver,
and always signal before making a move. For safety reasons, “lane splitting” – or weaving between lanes – should always be avoided, even if it is legal where you are.

Remember, there is no safe place to ride. Use in-lane positioning to be seen and to provide additional space
for emergency braking situations or evasive maneuvers. Never share a lane with a car. Drivers cannot
waiting for you next to their cars and may not be aware of your presence.

You are more likely to be in an accident when a car is turning left in front of you or you are in a driver’s blind spot. Drivers may not know you are there and sometimes may not check their blind spots before changing lanes or turning.

The state of the roads also presents dangers. Potholes, wet leaves, railroad tracks, and other road obstacles can force you to do something a driver didn’t expect. If a driver can’t see you, they can’t avoid you, so beware of sport utility vehicles, delivery vans, and large trucks that prevent you from being seen by other drivers.


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