Police dealing with rash of motorcycle fatalities - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Police dealing with rash of motorcycle fatalities

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Police said a driver in a Toyota Corolla blew through a red light and struck a motorcyclist on Thursday. (FOX5) Police said a driver in a Toyota Corolla blew through a red light and struck a motorcyclist on Thursday. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Three times this week, three fatal motorcycle crashes occurred on Valley roads, and law enforcement says it's part of an upsetting trend of more motorcycle fatalities this year.

"Last year we were only at 20 and so far this year we're sitting at 32 with nine of them falling within Nevada Highway Patrol's jurisdiction," said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Loy Hixson.

Hixson says it's critical that motorcyclists are aware of drivers and make themselves seen.

"The motorcyclists, they need to understand when they're on the roadways, they have to expect the unexpected…operate your vehicle as though no one else knows that you're there," Hixson said. 

On Thursday, two motorcycle riders died on Valley streets in separate incidents. Near Las Vegas Boulevard and Lamb Boulevard, 24-year-old Jesus Vizcarra was struck by a car that ran a red light. Metro says the driver fled the scene.

In a second accident on Thursday, another deadly crash happened at Lake Mead Boulevard and D Street when Michael Wayne Herman Derryberry, 28, attempted to turn left at the light on Lake Mead and was struck by a car. Flowers were placed in the location on Friday to remember him.

In Metro's jurisdiction this year, there have been 20 fatal motorcycle crashes compared to 16 last year.

"Motorcycles tend to hide in the shadows so to speak and car drivers simply aren't looking for us," said The Cycle School Motorcycle Training Program Manager Victor Moss.

Moss has been teaching the motorcycle safety for nearly 15 years, and the first thing he teaches his classes is "street strategy."

"See and be seen," Moss said. "You want to put yourself in a position that you can see well what's going around and where you can be seen by others."

He says about 1,000 students go through his program annually. He says that statewide, there are about 4,500 new licenses issued every year. Moss estimates that based on the number of students that enter their program without a license, that 50 percent of all riders don't have a license.

"We guess that as many non-licensed riders that we see, I'd guess that at least half the people aren't license out there," Moss said.

Moss says by law, anyone can buy a motorcycle without a license. He thinks one reason that motorcyclists ride without one is because the DMV test is difficult and most people fail on their first try.

However, everyone who goes through the motorcycle training program at The Cycle School will leave with a license in hand.

Metro also reported that in 2012, 30 percent of all motorcycle accidents were because motorcycle riders were driving too fast on Valley roads.

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