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Motorcycle accident claims Navy man

A young Navy man died as a result of an accident that occurred late Tuesday night near Oak Harbor when the motorcycle he was driving struck a house, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Ryan R. Pringle, 23, whose hometown is listed as East Dundee, Ill., was westbound on Pinewood Way at 11:53 p.m. His motorcycle failed to stop at a stop sign at West Beach Road, left the roadway and struck the house.

The State Patrol report states that Pringle was driving the 1992 Kawasaki KDX too fast for conditions. He was not wearing a helmet and alcohol may have been a factor. His driver’s license was not endorsed for a motorcycle.

Pringle was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he died at 4 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Public Information Officer Kim Martin said Pringle was a petty officer third class, assigned to the VAQ-132 Scorpions. A memorial service for friends and co-workers is planned for Friday, Sep. 5, at 11 a.m. at the base chapel.

Coincidentally, the State Department of Licensing issued a press release this week stating that motorcycle fatalities have “surged” this month, many caused by rider errors.

Forty-eight riders have lost their lives statewide so far this year, an increase of five over this time last year. However, the total is lower than in 2006 when 59 motorcyclists died through August.

“Most of the people who die on motorcycles haven’t taken any form of rider training,” said Steve Stewart, manager, DOL Motorcycle Safety Program. “Riding a motorcycle takes a lot of mental preparation and planning. Training helps you learn how to escape when life or death situations arise on the road.”

Adding to the statistics are inexperienced riders turning to fuel-efficient motorcycles in response to skyrocketing gas prices. Some are unaware that they need an endorsement and training to legally operate their new moped, or “scooter.” If a motorcycle’s engine is larger than 49 cubic centimeters, or is capable of traveling faster than 30 miles per hour, the operator is required to have an endorsement.

For more information on training and endorsement, visit www.endorseyoursport.com.

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