Eight people lost their lives in Virginia vehicle accidents during the Fourth of July weekend, according to a news report from WHSV. Half of the victims were motorcyclists – a sobering fact that should encourage all Richmond residents to take a second look at how they bike and share the road with bikers.
The four motorcycle accidents occurred in Virginia Beach and in Albemarle, Brunswick and Orange counties, according to the news report. In each accident, the biker was reported to be wearing a helmet. Additionally, two ATV riders lost their lives in Montgomery and Richmond counties.
Both motorcyclists and car drivers can practice safer driving in order to avoid causing or becoming the victim of a motorcycle crash.
Here are some simple tips, courtesy of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles:
- Be prepared. Make sure your license, title and registration are up to date. You should also make sure your motorcycle insurance is updated. In addition to liability coverage, it is a good idea to carry uninsured motorist/underinsured motorists (UM/UIM) coverage as well.
- Wear the proper gear. A motorcycle helmet reduces your risk of death or serious head injury by 37 percent or more, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Eye protection, sturdy footwear, and leather jackets, pants, and gloves can also help protect you from serious injury.
- Take safety courses. By extending your education beyond basic riding, you will improve your safety, know how to spot and avoid emergency situations and make riding more fun for you and your passenger.
- Follow the rules of the road. Never try to “split” a lane with a car or slip between cars at an intersection. If the driver does not see you, a crash can easily result.
For Car Drivers
- Minimize distractions. Many motorcycle accidents occur because a distracted driver simply did not see the motorcyclist until it was too late. Stay alert, turn down the radio and put away the cell phone, food or other distractions until the car is safely parked.
- Look twice for motorcycles. Because they are smaller than cars, motorcycles can be tougher to spot – especially if a biker is trying to pull out from an intersection, trailing a large vehicle or trying to “split” a lane with a car.
- Leave room. When following a motorcycle, leave more space between your vehicle and the motorcycle than you would between your vehicle and another car. Motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars, so give yourself the space to stop safely even if the bike in front of you hits its brakes.
- When passing a motorcycle, don’t crowd. Pass only in a legal passing zone, and give the motorcycle as much space as you would a car or truck.
Whether you are riding a motorcycle or driving a car or truck, all motorists have the same rights on Virginia roads, including the right to expect other drivers to pay attention and travel carefully to help prevent accidents.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, an experienced motorcycle accident and injury lawyer can help you to understand your legal rights and choose the best course of action for you and your loved ones.