RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Motorists on Interstate 95 northbound in Chesterfield County (video below) Thursday afternoon at 4 may have noticed a motorcyclist ripping up the road on one wheel at about 65 miles an hour. Video of the wheelie shows it lasted well over a mile – maybe even more than two.
This phenomenon is part of the whole tricked-out sportbike culture, high-performance machines that can go from zero to 100 mph in six seconds and can do amazing tricks in the hands of the highly skilled and fearless.
The videos of them pushing the envelope, often in the midst of traffic, come from all across the country. Some show numerous riders pulling wheelies at high speed, in traffic.
The so-called sport bikes (ones that are pretty close to race-ready from the factory) are huge in relatively warm Richmond.
In the summer hundreds gather and race around Richmond, screaming stoplight to stoplight.
You can see wheelies and stoppies (the rear wheel comes off the ground during a carefully controlled stop) and burnouts on Broad Street or in the Bottom. Groups of superbike riders will race across city bridges in the wee hours, streaking across the half-mile span in seconds.
It’s not just a testosterone-driven guy thing. More than a few young women are among the hard-chargers.
Video shot today on Interstate 95 in Chesterfield County.
One young super bike rider was killed while racing across the Manchester Bridge with friends three years ago.
A year later, another sport bike rider was cut in half by a guy wire when he went flying after the hit a roundabout on N. 25th street at a high rate of speed.
Several die here in Richmond every year.
Christy Brown, a local sport bike rider, said high-speed stunting on busy roads puts more than just the driver at risk.
“Why is it not cool to be safe and still be able to ride later for years to come versus risking your life and not being able to ride?” she asked while fueling up her bike on W. Broad Street.
Most of those attempting these kinds of stunts have tons of experience. But YouTube videos of the high-speed stunting also show horrific crashes.
They show how dangerous this kind of riding can be. Plenty of people have been killed or maimed for life.
State police say wheelies like Thursdays on Interstate 95 is reckless driving. Police have seen enough of it to be on the lookout for it.
Is it worth losing your license, your bike, your life?