NBC12: RAA Joins Regional and State Partners for Motorcycle and Bike Safety

This article originally appeared on nbc12.com

Henrico Police are launching a new campaign called “Never Too Safe on 2 Wheels” to promote motorcycle and bicycle safety.

May is Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month.

Leaders from Henrico and emergency services across the state came together Thursday morning to stress the importance of this.

“In 2023, 125 motorcyclists were killed on Virginia’s roadways,” Director of Highway Safety for Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles John Saunders said. “That was a 13% increase compared to the previous year.”

The head of the Henrico Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit, Lt. Shawn Kopelove, said the division was prompted to take action after an uptick in deadly motorcycle crashes this year, including three that occurred within 24 hours of each other.

“So far this year, we’ve already worked 14 motorcycle crashes, along with five bicycle crashes. Three of the motorcycle crashes have been fatal,” Kopelove said.

Also, warmer weather means more bikers and cyclists on the roads.

“Virginia State Police know that as the weather warms up, the desire to ride grows,” Virginia State Police PIO Sergeant Jessica Shehan said. “As the desire to ride grows, unfortunately, the number of crashes and fatalities grow as well.”

Before hitting the road, riders should wear appropriate safety gear, including helmets and bright clothing.

“Car versus motorcycle, and car versus bike, never ever favors the two-wheeled vehicle,” AAA Mid-Atlantic Spokesperson Morgan Dean said.

Lights and reflective patches are also recommended for bicycles.

Riders must also follow the rules of the road: Going with the flow of traffic, obeying traffic lights and signaling, among others.

“Don’t speed, don’t split the lane lines, give yourself space to react,” Kopelove said.

The Richmond Ambulance Authority emphasized the importance of its Rider Alert Program and how a sticker placed on helmets can save lives.

“A small sticker placed on the outside of the motorcycle helmet lets bystanders know that they shouldn’t remove the helmet because that can actually do more harm to the patient,” Richmond Ambulance Authority Media Manager Mark Tenia said. “It lets first responders who are trained to remove that helmet safely know that inside of the helmet is a rider alert card. And on this card is important medical information, including medical history, as well as information about the emergency contact for the rider.”

Tenia said RAA has handed out tens of thousands of stickers and cards to motorcycle riders and clubs nationwide.

“This is incredibly important, especially in situations where the rider may not be able to communicate with first responders,” he said.

The Rider Alert Program is free. Anyone from anywhere can request stickers and cards.

Drivers must also be vigilant, always maintaining at least three feet between vehicles.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you’re holding onto a wheel or holding onto handlebars,” Dean said. “We need all drivers to be focused on the roadways and distraction-free.”

Henrico Police issued a complete list of recommendations for motorists and cyclists below.

Motorcycle safety:

  • Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits and lane markings.
  • Wear a helmet and other protective gear.
  • Ride with the flow of traffic and leave plenty of room between your bike and other vehicles.
  • Always check behind you and signal before you change lanes.
  • Apply reflective materials to your motorcycle and/or helmet.

Bicycle safety:

  • Ride with the flow in the same direction as traffic.
  • Obey street signs, signals and road markings, just like a car.
  • Wear a helmet and other protective gear.
  • Assume the other person doesn’t see you; look ahead for hazards.
  • Do not text, listen to music or use anything that distracts you by taking your eyes/ears off the road.
  • Wear bright clothing and/or reflective materials.

Motorist safety among cyclists:

  • Be watchful of cyclists riding at lower speeds.
  • Avoid any distractions.
  • Obey traffic lights, signs, speed limits and lane markings.
  • When passing a bicyclist, ensure at least three feet of separation.
2024-05-10T17:11:50-04:00May 10th, 2024|
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