A fatal, seven-car pileup in Forestville, Md., last week that police blame on a high-speed Beltway chase of a reckless motorcyclist has underscored the difficulty law enforcement officers face in controlling a pastime that has become more deadly than many drivers realize, reports the Gaithersburg Gazette. The local county leads the state in fatal motorcycle-involved crashes with 92 such accidents between 1997 and 2006. A police union official called it an epidemic.
Generally, officers usually don't engage in high-speed chases in Prince George's County because of the dangers to other motorists and the fact that many bikes can easily outrun a police cruiser. Two ways of attacking the problem are increasing motorcyclist education and conducting high-visibility law enforcement efforts as deterrents. ''Bikers need to be more cognizant of safety than…everyone else, because they're more vulnerable,” said Lon Anderson, director of Public and Government Relations for AAA's mid-Atlantic region. Bikers often bear the brunt of the impact in accidents, but the motorcycle driver in last week's crash, which left two dead and 15 injured, escaped the collision.