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Motorcycle fatalities increase dramatically

Following a fatal motorcycle crash in Giles County last week, Virginia State Police are warning motorists that motorcycle fatalities have been increasing dramatically over the past few years.
During 2007, Virginia experienced an 87 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities, according to the latest traffic crash statistics available.
In Southwest Virginia, Montgomery County recorded the most motorcycle fatalities in 2007, falling into the three to four category for the year. Most counties recording more than two motorcycle deaths were in the Northern Virginia, Richmond or Tidewater areas of the state.
Pulaski recorded one to two fatal motorcycle crashes, as did a number of other Southwest Virginia counties.
Local statistics were obtained from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles annual Traffic Crash Facts report for 2007. Statistics for 2008 have not yet been released.
According to State Police, for each mile traveled, motorcyclists are 16 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a traffic crash and are about four times more likely to be injured. While only 20 percent of car crashes result in injury or death, that figure jumps to an astounding 80 percent for motorcycle crashes.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation estimates 14 percent of all motorcyclists are unlicensed, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data indicates that nearly a quarter of fatal crashes involve unlicensed motorcyclists, while 20 percent do not have the required Class M endorsement.
“This means there are approximately 62,000 motorcycle operators on our highways that are not licensed or properly trained to operate a motorcycle,” a State Police press release states.
In the 2006 analysis of accident data, the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) noted two trends: first, motorcyclists are older than in the past; and second, they are operating bigger and more powerful motorcycles.
“The Virginia State Police has embraced the challenge of reducing the number of motorcycle injuries and fatalities resulting from crashes,” the press release states. “This challenge can become a reality with the assistance of all members of this department.”
The department provided the following recommendations to “Ride Smart, Arrive Alive:”
• Education: counteracting motorcyclist behavior that contributes to fatal crashes through public awareness campaigns and safety presentations.
• Enforcement: Reduce motorcycle fatalities through stricter enforcement.
• Roadway Management: Evaluate the potential impact of roadway designs, signage or other elements and direct patrols at areas where patterns are detected in crash reports.
In more than 68 percent of motorcycle crashes, the motorcyclist was at fault, State Police report.
Scooters and mopeds are not included in the statistics for motorcycles.

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Motorcycle fatalities increase dramatically

Following a fatal motorcycle crash in Giles County last week, Virginia State Police are warning motorists that motorcycle fatalities have been increasing dramatically over the past few years.
During 2007, Virginia experienced an 87 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities, according to the latest traffic crash statistics available.
In Southwest Virginia, Montgomery County recorded the most motorcycle fatalities in 2007, falling into the three to four category for the year. Most counties recording more than two motorcycle deaths were in the Northern Virginia, Richmond or Tidewater areas of the state.
Pulaski recorded one to two fatal motorcycle crashes, as did a number of other Southwest Virginia counties.
Local statistics were obtained from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles annual Traffic Crash Facts report for 2007. Statistics for 2008 have not yet been released.
According to State Police, for each mile traveled, motorcyclists are 16 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a traffic crash and are about four times more likely to be injured. While only 20 percent of car crashes result in injury or death, that figure jumps to an astounding 80 percent for motorcycle crashes.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation estimates 14 percent of all motorcyclists are unlicensed, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data indicates that nearly a quarter of fatal crashes involve unlicensed motorcyclists, while 20 percent do not have the required Class M endorsement.
“This means there are approximately 62,000 motorcycle operators on our highways that are not licensed or properly trained to operate a motorcycle,” a State Police press release states.
In the 2006 analysis of accident data, the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) noted two trends: first, motorcyclists are older than in the past; and second, they are operating bigger and more powerful motorcycles.
“The Virginia State Police has embraced the challenge of reducing the number of motorcycle injuries and fatalities resulting from crashes,” the press release states. “This challenge can become a reality with the assistance of all members of this department.”
The department provided the following recommendations to “Ride Smart, Arrive Alive:”
• Education: counteracting motorcyclist behavior that contributes to fatal crashes through public awareness campaigns and safety presentations.
• Enforcement: Reduce motorcycle fatalities through stricter enforcement.
• Roadway Management: Evaluate the potential impact of roadway designs, signage or other elements and direct patrols at areas where patterns are detected in crash reports.
In more than 68 percent of motorcycle crashes, the motorcyclist was at fault, State Police report.
Scooters and mopeds are not included in the statistics for motorcycles.

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