Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Motorcycle crashes in Hampton and Newport News trending in a troubling direction

Motorcycle fatalities in Hampton Roads have increased and reflect statewide statistics.

Last year in Hampton and Newport News, crashes involving motorcycles led to eight fatalities. That’s an increase of two over 2016, when six were recorded in both cities combined, according to data from the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

So far this year there have been three fatalities in Hampton and Newport News combined.

There were a total of 144 motorcycle crashes in the two cities in 2017 and 116 in 2016.

In 2018 so far, there have been 23 crashes in Hampton and Newport News.

The local numbers also mirror statewide statistics.

“Last year Virginia recorded the highest number of motorcyclist fatalities in a decade,” said Brandy Brubaker, public relations and media liaison with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. “We are drilling into crash data and doing a targeted analysis of each fatality to determine if a pattern emerges.”

Brubaker said there are currently 209,774 motorcycles registered statewide.

“Across Virginia, speeding and failure to maintain control of the motorcycle year after year contribute to a high percentage of motorcyclists’ deaths,” she said. “So does alcohol use. Forty percent of all single-vehicle motorcyclist fatalities in 2017 involved a motorcyclist with a blood alcohol content above the legal limit.”

Brubaker said they encourage motorcyclists of all skill levels to take advantage of the Virginia Rider Training Program, which offers statewide motorcycle classes for both novice and experienced riders.

Motorcycle riders in Virginia are, by law, required to wear a helmet. A rider without a helmet, she said, is 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury than a rider wearing a helmet.

The DMV also has public service announcements on YouTube, which can be found here and here.

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