Motorcycle fatalities in Virginia Beach already surpass last year’s total

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VIRGINIA BEACH – July has been a deadly month for motorcyclists here, while overall 2018 has seen more fatalities in the city than usual.

With the year barely past the halfway point, there have already been eight fatalities in the city limits, surpassing the six that occurred in all of 2017. As a side note, there were no motorcycle fatalities in the city in 2016.

Of the three crashes and four fatalities so far this month, two of them involved excessive speed, according to police.

Last year the state recorded the highest number of motorcycle fatalities in over a decade, said Brandy Brubaker, public relations and media liaison with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Speed, alcohol, and failure to control are the leading factors that contribute to motorcycle fatalities.

“A motorcycle is a great way to see all of the beautiful scenery in Virginia or just to travel around town, but safety is key. Always wear your helmet and other protective clothing like googles, gloves and a riding jacket,” she said.

RELATED STORY: Police: Speed was a factor in crash that killed two people

There were a total of 134 motorcycle crashes in the city in 2017 (up from 120 in 2016) and 134 injuries (126 in 2016). So far this year, despite the high number of fatalities, there have been just 52 crashes and 55 injuries.

While only motorcyclists can manage their own riding behaviors, AAA Tidewater offered a few tips for those driving cars:

  • Be extra cautious, especially on the weekends;
  • Check mirrors and blind spots carefully before changing lanes, and double check approaching traffic when turning across lanes. Motorcycles can be difficult to see and appear farther away than they actually are;
  • Give motorcyclists adequate room to maneuver, at least five-six feet, especially around road hazards like potholes or railroad tracks;
  • Never share a lane with a motorcycle.

Brubaker said motorcyclists should always follow a safe speed and stay focused on the task of driving.

A map showing all of the motorcycle crash locations in Virginia Beach through June (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles)
A map showing all of the motorcycle crash locations in Virginia Beach through June. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles)

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“A great way to learn how to ride a motorcycle or just freshen up your skills for the year is the Virginia Rider Training Program, which offers statewide motorcycle classes for both beginning and experienced riders,” she said.

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