New Mexico's Motorcycle Death Toll Off to Bad Start

New Mexico's Motorcycle Death Toll Off to Bad Start

(FROM KOB4) Feb 21, 2017  The National Safety Council recorded a 34 percent increase in the number of deadly crashes in New Mexico from 2015 to 2016. The New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization said 2017 is already off to a bad start. They’ve recorded five fatal motorcycle crashes since the new year started.

It seems like every other week roads are being blocked off, and families notified that their loved ones have been injured or killed in a car crash. While overall, deadly crashes are up in New Mexico, Raymond Gallegos said it's especially true in the motorcycle community.

“We're 48, 49 days into the year,” said Gallegos, the co-chairman of the New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization. “We've already had 22 crashes and five deaths. Those numbers are staggering already.”

According to statewide traffic reports, there has been a steady increase in the number of fatal motorcycle crashes, from 41 in 2013 to 49 in 2016. Transportation officials said those 2016 numbers are just preliminary and could increase even more.

“When these crashes happen we go and meet with that family. We put a face to that number and that's difficult. To tell the grieving mother or grieving spouse that their loved one has gone down,” Gallegos said.

From what he's seen, there's no one reason for the uptick in fatalities. But he said many times it has to do with a distraction, or a driver taking their eyes away from the road.

“There's been some people saying, 'Oh, there's not enough officers on the road, maybe if there were more officers,' but really the accountability comes down to the driver themselves,” Gallegos said.

The New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization is working with lawmakers on bills to call attention to distracted and careless drivers. The organization will be heading to Santa Fe to the Roundhouse Feb. 25. The event is called Bike Day at the Capitol.

There, members will recognize the fallen and survivors. The ride starts 12:15 p.m. from the Santa Fe Harley-Davidson store

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