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Increased Fatalities for Motorcycle Riders in Virginia during 2010

More motorcyclists are traveling Virginia's roads, and a Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles representative says that has contributed to an increase in fatal accidents involving motorcycles. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles noted this was a 19% increase from the same six-month period in 2009.

In 2009, 71 persons died in motorcycle accidents. In 2007deaths spiked at 126, and fell the following year to 70, the overall trend has been increasing with the massive increase in the number of motorcycles and motorcycle riders in the last 15 years.

In 1994 there were 59,925 motorcycles registered in VA. By 2008, there were 177,147, a most a threefold increase. Since 2001, DMV representative Melanie Stokes says, motorcycle registration in Virginia has jumped by 105 percent.

Motorcycle license endorsements increased from 194,983 to 331,238, a 70% increase. A substantial portion of the increase has occurred in the last 10 years, and perhaps some the increase can be attributed to the increase in new riders, who may be less skilled at operating a motorcycle than more seasoned riders.

Given the exposed position riders have when faced with an automobile or truck, some of the increase is due to the fact with more riders, there are more opportunities for accidents to occur.

Safety is Always a Big Concern

When riding one should always treat other motorists with courtesy and respect. A surprisingly large number of accidents (all, not just motorcycle) occur because of a too close following distance, something that should be avoided on a motorcycle.

Because of the tremendous power-to-weight ratios of bikes like the Honda CBR600RR and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, with 0-60 times in the three-second range, one should have proper training with handling the enormous performance capabilities of these cycles.

Safety Tips for Riders

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has safety tips for riders: Always wear a helmet. Helmets are about 29 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.

Besides, in Virginia, motorcyclists and their passengers are required to wear an approved motorcycle helmet that meets or exceeds the specifications of the Snell Memorial Foundation, the American National Standards Institute, Inc. or the federal Department of Transportation.

They also recommend eye-protection and high-visibility clothing, such as brightly colored vests and clothes with build-in reflective surfaces.

Jackets, gloves, pants, chaps and boots made from leather or synthetic fabrics, designed to reduce injuries from road accidents.

While other drives should pay attention and always be aware of motorcycles sharing the road with them, a rider needs to drive with an awareness of their lane position and road conditions, avoiding vehicle blind spots and not making sudden changes of position that could leave one venerable to other cars.

The stakes are high and you must drive defensively. If you have been involved in a crash, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can advise you of your rights and legal options.

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