October 31, 2011
A Richmond police communications officer was fatally injured in a motorcycle crash at the beginning of October when he collided with a school bus while riding his motorcycle just west of Jefferson Davis Highway. Another motorcyclist was sent to the hospital with critical injuries after colliding with an SUV in Chesterfield County about a week ago. The cyclist later died from his injuries has well.
To top it all off, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that almost half of all fatal accidents on Halloween night in 2009 involved a motorcycle driver with a blood-alcohol-concentration above 0.08. To say that October is a dangerous month for Virginia motorcycle accidents may be an understatement. October has proven to be even worse: a deadly month for motorcyclists in Virginia and throughout the country.
How Can Richmond Motorcyclists Better Protect Themselves?
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles requires all cyclists on Virginia roadways to first obtain a motorcycle license or a Class M designation on your Virginia driver’s license. Virginia also requires that cyclists and their passengers wear a helmet that either complies with or exceeds the standards set forth by the federal Department of Transportation, the Snell Memorial Foundation or the American National Standards Institute, Inc.
In addition to helmets, motorcyclists are encouraged to wear protective eyewear such as a helmet with a face shield or protective goggles, long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect arms and legs from scrapes and abrasions, non-slip gloves that allow for a firm grip on the handlebars and appropriate footwear that covers the ankles. Leather boots are highly recommended.
While it’s every driver’s responsibility to keep an eye out for others on the road and to follow traffic rules to protect each other’s safety, motorcyclists must be aware that they often go unseen by others on the road. Whether it’s because drivers are not looking for their smaller motor vehicles or whether the motorcyclist is not taking steps to drive in his or her lane so as to be visible to other drivers, lane positioning is very important for motorcycle safety. If you’re riding a motorcycle, make sure to give yourself enough space to avoid traffic hazards as well as to brake appropriately in emergency situations.
August 29, 2011
A disabled Ford Taurus in the left-hand lane of Interstate 95 in Richmond lead to a three-vehicle crash last Thursday, fatally injuring two motorcyclists. The Taurus attempted to get off the highway, but could not entirely get out of the left lane of traffic. A Chevrolet Impala, also in the left lane, was able to stop behind the Taurus, but the third vehicle, a Harley motorcycle was not. The motorcycle rear-ended the Impala, ejecting both the driver of the motorcycle and his passenger.
In 2010, Virginia roadways, including I-95, saw over 700 Virginians killed in motor vehicle accidents, including drivers, passengers and pedestrians according to the Virginia Highway Safety Office. Over 4500 car crashes occurred in Richmond alone, resulting in 15 deaths and over 2500 injuries.
Common Causes of Virginia Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are among the top 15 most common causes of death in Virginia. Although there is no indication that alcohol was a factor in the fatal motorcycle crash on I-95, alcohol played a role in over 37 percent of all crash-related fatalities in Virginia last year.
Other common causes of Virginia motor vehicle accidents include:
- Distracted or inattentive driving
- Exceeding the posted speed limit
- Failing to obey traffic signals, including stop signs and red lights
- Poor weather conditions
- Defective vehicle parts
- Inexperienced/teen drivers
- Driver fatigue
Regardless of the cause of the crash, motor vehicle accidents can have devastating consequences. The sudden impact of one vehicle hitting another can cause bruising, broken bones, spinal cord and head injury, burns and even death. The steps you take after being injured in a car accident should include moving to a safe place if possible, calling for emergency assistance and seeking necessary medical treatment.