OSP reminding drivers to be cautious, aware of motorcyclists on roadways

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — In the past 72 hours, there have been multiple motorcycle and car crashes in the Rogue Valley, some of them deadly.

“We do have an uptick in motorcycle crashes during these beautiful weather events,” said Captain Stephanie Bigman with Oregon State Police.

Following a deadly motorcycle crash Thursday morning on Highway 66, a motorcycle and car crash in Medford Friday afternoon near Columbus Avenue, and a crash involving multiple motorcycles on I-5 Friday night, the Oregon State Police wants to remind the public to be cautious and aware of their surroundings.

“Vehicles that are turning, that is the leading cause of these crashes for these motorcyclists. When they’re [motorcyclists] going through their training course they have to assume every car is turning at them,” she said.

She says driving complaints from Oregonians have increased drastically, setting a record high of 54,000 in 2021.

Captain Bigman says this is leading to state police conducting ‘high saturation’ events in hopes of preventing crashes and enforcing safe driving. This means more patrols on the state’s roads, despite a staffing shortage. “There’s only 410 troopers and sergeants that are on the road out patrolling and we have 8,000 miles of state highways to patrol and there are 3.8 million licensed drivers,” she said.

So what can drivers do to be more aware of sharing the roadway with motorcyclists? Captain Bigman suggests what police call: “The Fatal Five or SOLID”.

“Slow down, occupant safety – wear your seat-belts, lane usage- stay within your lane, be careful of what lane you’re using in passes and turns, impaired driving – don’t be drinking and driving, distracted driving – stay off the phone, don’t be messing with the radio, pay attention to your surroundings,” she said.

Jackson County ranked 5th in the state for motorcycle fatalities in 2018.

That’s according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

“Motorcycles hide in what we call in the A-Pillar, so if they’re moving and you’re moving – you’ll never see them. So you really want to make sure you come to a complete stop, look and look again before you go.”

She ecommends people plan ahead for their trips in order to save time and drive accordingly.

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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