Warmer weather means more motorcycles on the road; DMV recommends motorists be on the lookout

Virginia News

A motorcyclist rides in front of a For Rent sign in a window of a residential property in San Francisco, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) – As spring-like weather becomes more frequent, motorcyclists will be rolling out to enjoy the fantastic Virginia scenery.

To help spread the message of safety, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has launched a campaign urging motorcyclists to wear the proper gear when taking to the road as well as for motorists who should be on the lookout for more motorcyclists.

“Motorcyclists must do everything they can to protect themselves as they are sharing the road with vehicles that are many, many times the size of theirs. Gearing up with the right safety equipment every time is the simplest way to do that.”

Richard D. Holcomb, DMV Commissioner

Having the proper gear, from head to toe, can often save a motorcyclist’s life if they are in a crash.

Last year, 87 motorcyclists died in crashes in Virginia, according to preliminary figures.

More than 1,700 crashes involving motorcyclists were reported and 1,479 motorcyclists were injured – 672 of those were categorized as serious.

The most important piece of safety equipment, say experts, is a helmet.

Virginia law indicates that motorcyclists and their passengers must always wear a helmet that meets or exceeds standards as specified by the Snell Memorial Foundation, the American National Standards Institute, Inc., or the U.S. Department of Transporation.

A rider without a helmet is said to be 40-percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury versus a rider with a helmet.

For drivers, the DMV is offering tips to help motorists heighten their awareness of motorcycles.

Allow for extra following distance behind motorcycles because riders often slow down by downshifting or coasting, which means the brake lights aren’t always activated.

  • Since a motorcycle’s narrow profile can cause it to be hidden in a car’s blind spot when it’s behind a car, check rearview mirrors often to be aware of motorcycles approaching or following.
  • Take an extra moment to look twice for motorcycles when changing lanes, turning at intersections, pulling out of driveways or pulling into traffic because motorcycles may look farther away than they actually are, and it can be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed.
  • Be mindful that a motorcycle’s turn signals aren’t always self-canceling like a car’s turn signals. Some riders, especially beginners, may forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change.
  • Be aware that when motorcyclists adjust lane position within a lane, they are not being reckless or trying to show off. The adjustment is often made to improve visibility and to minimize the effects of debris, passing vehicles or wind.

For more information regarding motorcycle safety, click here.

To view DMV’s safety message regarding the importance of gearing up before heading out on a motorcycle, view the video below.

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