DMV urges caution

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With warm weather forecast and summer months approaching, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) urges motorcyclists – and motorists – to travel with caution.

Statistically, April through August are considered the deadliest months of the year for motorcyclists in Virginia. More than half of last year’s motorcyclist fatalities (39 of 72) occurred in those months. Twenty-five motorcyclists have died so far this year on Virginia roadways. Those fatal crashes occurred in Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Roanoke City, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and the counties of Augusta, Chesterfield, Frederick, Henrico, King George, Loudoun, Pittsylvania, Prince William, Pulaski, Roanoke, Russell, Smyth and Stafford.

“As soon as the weather gets warmer, Virginians get out their motorcycles and get on the road,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Some motorcyclists may have not ridden since they put their bikes away for the winter. But, no matter your skill level, it never hurts to brush up or improve upon your skills with a training course.”

Motorcyclists can take advantage of the Virginia Rider Training Program, which offers motorcycle classes for both beginning and experienced riders. Classes are taught by certified motorcycle and safety instructors and are offered throughout the state.

Motorcycle Safety Tips · Always wear safety equipment. Wear helmets and other protective clothing such as gloves, goggles and a riding jacket. Motorcyclists and their passengers must wear helmets in Virginia. A rider without a helmet is 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury than a rider wearing a helmet. · Remain alert day and night. Keep an eye on your surroundings at all times. More than half of motorcyclist fatalities in 2016 occurred between 3 and 9 p.m. · Travel at a safe speed. Always obey the posted speed limits and reduce your speed in inclement weather. Speeding and failure to maintain control of the motorcycle contribute to a high percentage of motorcyclists’ deaths. · Never operate a motorcycle after consuming alcohol: Forty-two percent of all single-vehicle motorcycle fatalities in 2015 involved a motorcyclist with blood alcohol contents above the legal limit.

Tips for other motorists · Look for motorcyclists. In more than half of all crashes involving motorcycles and automobiles, the automobile driver didn’t see the motorcycle until it was too late. · Check your blind spots. Always check for motorcycles before you pull out, change lanes, turn, back up or proceed through an intersection. · Anticipate the motorcyclist’s movements. A slight change or debris on the road surface can be a major obstacle for motorcyclists so expect them to make sudden moves within their lane. Never tailgate a motorcycle or any other vehicle.

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