A Westbrook man died after he crashed his motorcycle into a mailbox and was thrown from the bike on in Limington earlier this month. Credit: Courtesy of the York County Sheriff's Office

A motorcycle-car collision on Route 15 in Glenburn on Tuesday night that claimed a Glenburn man’s life marked the latest in a rising number of fatal motorcycle crashes throughout Maine this year.

Maine has seen 18 fatal motorcycle crashes resulting in 18 deaths so far this year, according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Shannon Moss. This far surpasses the 11 motorcycle crashes resulting in 11 deaths and nine motorcycle crashes resulting in 10 deaths Maine had seen in the first six months of 2021 and 2020, respectively.

The state hasn’t yet pinpointed one cause behind the increase, as the crashes have multiple contributing factors.

This year’s average of three deadly motorcycle crashes per month is also higher than the state’s monthly average of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2018 through 2021, which ranged from 1.75 to 2.25 crashes. Should the current monthly rate of fatal motorcycle crashes continue, Maine can expect to see the highest annual number of fatal motorcycle crashes in at least five years, according to data from the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Most recently, Andrew Adams, 61, of Glenburn died after he collided with a vehicle on Route 15 in Glenburn on Wednesday, according to the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office. Adams was traveling north on Route 15 when a car traveling south on the road, toward Bangor, turned into the Village Variety store in front of the motorcycle.

The driver of the car, Jonathan Hendre, 40, of Hudson, and his two passengers, Sarah Saltzman, 40, and her 6-year-old daughter, were not injured.

Last week, Philip MacKerron, 63, of Westbrook struck a mailbox in Limington and was thrown from his motorcycle, according to the York County Sheriff’s Office. MacKerron, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Earlier this month, Wayne Grotton, 53, of Dixmont was killed when his motorcycle crashed into a tree in Palermo.

Also this month, Melissa Hatch, 50, of Brewer was killed when the motorcycle on which she was a passenger collided with a pickup truck in Waltham.

Moss said there have been many contributing factors in the state’s reported motorcycle crashes this year, such as speed, reckless driving and failure to yield by both motorcycles and vehicles. However, the state hasn’t pinpointed one common factor to explain the rise in crashes.

Moss said 16 of the 17 motorcycle drivers who died this year were men while only one was a woman. Twelve of the victims of this year’s motorcycle crashes this year were not wearing helmets while six were.

In a May news release, the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety reminded drivers to watch out for motorcyclists on the road this summer because their smaller size compared with a vehicle can make them difficult to spot. Their size can also cause other drivers to misjudge their speed and distance, the bureau wrote.

The bureau advised drivers to give motorcyclists extra room on the road because they may

need to change speed or adjust their lane position suddenly to avoid hazards such as potholes,

gravel, wet or slippery surfaces and railroad crossings. Drivers should also check their mirrors and blind spots for motorcyclists when turning, changing lanes or merging with traffic.

The bureau urged motorcyclists to wear a helmet, protective clothing, bright colors and reflective tape to increase visibility. Motorcyclists were advised to drive in the middle of the lane where they’re most visible to drivers, use turning signals and obey all traffic laws.

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Kathleen O'Brien

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...