According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists continue to be at a high risk of fatal traffic crashes all over the U.S. The latest available data reports that, in 2019, 5,014 motorcyclists were killed in fatal road accidents around the country.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and it’s the ideal time to learn and review safety measures you should know as a rider and as a motorist sharing the road.
Read on to learn Virginia’s latest available motorcycle accident statistics and what you can do as a rider and a driver to stay safe.
What Virginia’s Motorcycle Accident Stats Show
According to the most recent motorcycle accident statistics for Virginia (2017):
- There are 195,845 registered motorcycles in the state of Virginia
- There were 103 motorcyclist fatalities in 2017
- There are 5.26 motorcyclist fatalities per every 10,000 registered motorcycles
- Virginia is ranked #28 among the 50 states when it comes to fatalities per every 10,000 registered motorcycles
And in the U.S.:
- Motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2017
- Motorcyclists are 27 times more likely than people in passenger cars to die in a traffic crash
- 32% of fatal motorcycle accidents involved speeding
- 35% of fatal motorcycle accidents occurred when a rider was under the influence of alcohol
A key takeaway researchers determined as a contributing factor to higher rates of motorcycle accidents is weather. Warmer weather states are the most dangerous for motorcycle riders, Virginia included. That’s because when the weather warms up, naturally, more riders are out on the road.
Protect Yourself If You Ride
If you’re a rider, there are many things you can do and should do to improve your knowledge of safe riding when you’re out on the road.
Safety precautions recommended by the NHTSA include:
- Attending a motorcycle safety training program offered in your community. In Virginia, you are required to attend an approved rider safety program as part of obtaining your motorcyclist license.
- Taking the time to get to know your motorcycle and how it handles in a variety of road conditions. Beginner to advanced rider training courses help with this.
- Wearing a proper helmet that meets U.S. Department of Transportation standards (look for a seal), eye protection, and other safety gear. Learn more about choosing the right helmet.
- Checking your motorcycle’s tire pressure, tread depth, hand brakes, foot brakes, headlights, signal indicators, and fluid levels before you ride. Also, check under your motorcycle for signs of oil or gas leaks.
- If you’re carrying cargo, you should secure and balance the load on the cycle; and adjust the suspension and tire pressure to accommodate the extra weight.
- Riding responsibly and defensively. Know local traffic laws and don’t take risks. Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits, and lane markings; ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles; and always check behind you and signal before you change lanes.
- Never riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Share the Road with Motorcycles Safely as a Motorist
While riders should know and practice safe riding precautions, there are many things motorists can do to share the road safely. Keep the below tips in mind.
- Be a patient driver, especially at intersections.
- Look twice for motorcycles.
- Always assume motorcycles are closer than they appear to be.
- Use your turn signals and check your blind spot before changing lanes.
- Allow at least a four-second following distance. If a motorcyclist suddenly stops or falls off, you will need enough distance to stop your car and avoid hitting him/her.
- Do not share the lane with a motorcyclist. A motorcyclist needs enough room to maneuver; having a shared lane can be unsafe, especially if a traffic situation arises.
- In times of bad weather and bad road conditions – or when there is a heavy traffic – watch out for motorcyclists and be extra courteous and cautious
I’m Your Motorcycle Accident Attorney and I’m Here to Help You
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle-vehicle accident through the recklessness or negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to monetary damages under Virginia law. As a victim, you deserve fair compensation for your injuries.
Call me at 703.813.6460 or contact me to discuss your case and get the help you need.