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First responders convened in Henrico today to inaugurate the county’s month-long highway safety campaign focusing on motorcycle and bike safety.

The event marked the launch of the county’s new “Never Too Safe on 2 Wheels” campaign, aimed at educating individuals on staying safe on the roads, especially cyclists.

Henrico police emphasized several crucial measures cyclists can undertake to ensure their safety and visibility on the roads. These include wearing helmets, protective gear and bright, reflective clothing while avoiding distractions such as texting or listening to music that could divert attention from the road.

Warmer weather signals the onset of May, designated as Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Month.

Henrico County Police Lieutenant Shawn Kopelove stressed that there are a few things cyclists can do to ensure their safety.

“Be visible and dress for safety, think safety while riding and obey the rules of the road, know your bike and be able to handle it in all conditions,” Kopelove said.

According to authorities, motorcyclists can stay safe by:

  • Obeying traffic lights, signs, speed limits and street markings
  • Wearing a helmet and protective gear at all times
  • Riding with the flow of traffic and ensuring there is space between you and other drivers
  • Always checking behind you and signal before changing lanes
  • Applying reflective gear to your bike and helmet

Bicyclists can ensure their safety by doing all of the above, and also by:

  • Never listening to music, texting or using anything that could distract you

Drivers can ensure the safety of those around them by:

  • Being mindful of cyclists traveling at slower speeds
  • Keeping at least three feet of distance between them and cyclists

According to Henrico police, the county has witnessed 14 motorcycle accidents and five cycling accidents this year so far, with three fatalities and two speed-related incidents among them. In 2023, there were 41 motorcycle crashes and 23 bicycle crashes in Henrico, resulting in two deaths.

Last month, 8News reported that there were three deadly motorcycle crashes in the county within the span of 24 hours.

Virginia State Police reported that there have been nearly 30 deaths on Virginia’s roads so far this year, surpassing the numbers from both 2023 and 2022. These incidents were often attributed to speed or improper braking.

To address these issues, state troopers are offering free courses for motorcyclists to practice life-saving skills, focusing on techniques such as correct posture, throttle, and brake use.

The Richmond Ambulance Authority highlighted its Rider Alert program to encourage motorcyclists to carry ID cards inside their helmets and put indication stickers on their helmets, facilitating first responders in providing assistance promptly during accidents.

Officials stressed the importance of collaboration among cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers for overall road safety.

“Encourage everyone to slow down, encourage everyone to wear helmets, and encourage everyone to be vigilant for others around you,” said Henrico County Fire Chief Jackson Baynard.

According to officials, diverting attention from the road for two seconds or more doubles the likelihood of being involved in a crash.

“Car versus motorcycle and car versus bike never ever favors the two-wheel vehicle,” said Morgan Dean, AAA’s Mid-Atlantic spokesperson. “We don’t say that enough but that’s the reality of it all.”

Other authorities in attendance at Thursday’s event included representatives from the Henrico County Department of Emergency Communications and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.