SPOKANE, Wash. - Several serious motorcycle-involved crashes, including two fatalities, since Sunday have sent a tragic reminder to all who use Spokane's roads- it's motorcycle season, and alertness is important.
Two motorcyclists were killed in single-vehicle collisions. One crashed into a power pole on Rutter Parkway, the other, into a guardrail at Interstate 90 and Highway 2.
Members of the Spokane motorcycle community emphasized that riders of any age or experience level should know their limits on the road.
In 20 years of riding, that's something Rob Veitz has gotten familiar with.
“Always been a car guy, always grew up around cars and racing, and for some reason motorcycles were a new attraction for me,” he said.
Now, at Westside Motor Sports, Veitz shares his experiences with first timers as they learn motorcycle safety and identify their own limits.
“You're only on two wheels instead of four, so, you know, cars don't fall over when they stop if you don't put your feet down,” Veitz said.
According to 2013 data from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle riders are six times more likely than vehicular passengers to die in a crash.
Veitz has never had a serious crash himself, but the motorcycle community is close- every rider knows someone who has.
“It's sad. It really is sad like, when you hear there's an accident or fatality and it's typically the rider's fault, hat makes it even worse,” he said.
Initial law enforcement reports from the crash on Rutter Parkway indicated that the rider may have been driving excessively fast. The other two are under investigation.
At Spokane Motor School the crashes this week hit too close to home.
“That's heartbreaking, of course. My condolences to the family because I know they're devastated as well,” said Rachel Oxrieder, who owns the riding school.
David McClave was killed in the crash on I-90. He was a student of Oxrieder and her team at Spokane Motor School just weeks ago.
“I have to keep in mind that the other, you know, 7,800-some students that we've trained, they're doing good and occasionally there's just somebody that's in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Oxrieder said.
Both she and Veitz emphasize that training is crucial to keep the roads safe.
“You need to kind of take it in baby steps, build up. The accidents that we're seeing that are motorcycle only, so too fast for corners- that's where we're killing ourselves,” Veitz said.
Oxrieder also stressed how important it is that drivers avoid distractions when surrounded by motorcyclists, who are far more exposed.