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Virginia Highway Safety Office News Releases

Friday, July 11, 2014
Media Contact: Sunni Brown
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6834

DMV Urges Caution After Recent Fatal Motorcycle Crashes
Warm Weather Means Increase in Riders; Safety, Proper Training are Encouraged

RICHMOND - As this weekend approaches, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is urging caution after seven motorcyclists have died on Virginia's roads over the past two weekends - four over the Fourth of July holiday and three the weekend of June 28.

"Riding a motorcycle is an invigorating way to travel and experience the beauty of Virginia, and the recent warm weather is prompting folks to hop on their bikes for some weekend fun," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "The sad truth though is that motorcyclists are dying on our roadways, so we must put more emphasis on safety and the proper training."

29 people have died in fatal motorcycle crashes so far this year.

  • 38 percent of total motorcycle fatal crashes were single vehicle crashes.
  • Failure to maintain control of the vehicle and running off the road along with speeding accounted for 53 percent of the fatalities.
  • 55 percent of these fatal crashes occurred on a Saturday or Sunday.
  • Three motorcyclists were under the influence of alcohol.

For many people, motorcycles are a seasonal vehicle, so it's important for riders to make sure they are confident and comfortable before they hit the road. The Virginia Rider Training Program offers motorcycle classes for both beginning and experienced riders. Classes are taught by certified motorcycle safety instructors and are offered at community colleges and other locations throughout the state.

For more information on riding a motorcycle in Virginia and important safety information, visit

DMV is also urging caution for people who ride other smaller profile vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and mopeds. This year, three people have died while riding a moped and two people while driving an ATV. The fatal ATV crashes occurred last weekend over the Independence Day Holiday. In four cases, the cause of the crash was failure to maintain control of the vehicle. One of the moped riders had also been drinking alcohol.

"It's important for motorcycle, ATV and moped riders to maintain proper control of their vehicle and to drive alcohol-free," said Holcomb. "I would also point out that driving is a shared responsibility and I encourage all motorists to be considerate. Vehicles like motorcycles and mopeds are smaller than cars, trucks, and SUVs and harder to see."

Motorcycle and Moped Rider Safety Tips

  • Wear safety equipment. Wear helmets and other proper, protective clothing like gloves and a riding jacket.
  • Be observant. Keep an eye on your surroundings.
  • Ride defensively. Do not be aggressive; these vehicles are smaller than most other vehicles sharing the road.
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