April 16, 2010
The Virginia Highway Safety Office announced Friday that select law enforcement agencies across Virginia will focus on the safety of motorcycle riders through strict enforcement of all traffic laws.
The initiative is in response to recent data showing a general decline in traffic fatalities overall, but a surge in deaths and injuries among motorcycle riders.
As part of a statewide effort, on the weekend of April 17-18, law enforcement will conduct enhanced efforts on speeding, improper licensure, drinking and riding, and other infractions that are major risks to the safety of motorcyclists.
“While Virginia has seen a decrease in motorcycle fatalities since 2007, there are still far too many lives being lost as the result of motorcycle crashes," said DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "We must all work together to reverse this trend." In 2009, there were 71 motorcycle fatalities and 1,938 reported injuries in Virginia.
“Training is the key," Holcomb said. "The more you learn, the better rider you become. The Virginia Highway Safety Office urges all riders and potential riders to take one of the motorcycle safety courses offered throughout Virginia.”
To find a training course in your area, visit this website.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,290 motorcyclists were killed in 2008, an increase of two percent over the 5,174 who died in 2007. There were 96,000 motorcyclists injured during 2008.
“Motorcycles make up two percent of all registered vehicles in the Virginia, yet in 2009, they accounted for nine percent of total traffic fatalities, ten percent of all occupant fatalities, and three percent of all occupants injured," Holcomb said.
"Per mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash," he added. "Unlike passenger cars, there's no protection on a motorcycle, which greatly increases the likelihood of being seriously injured or killed in an crash."