MIDLOTHIAN, Va., — After nearly a dozen people were killed in motorcycle crashes on Virginia’s highways so far in 2018, State Police want to hit the brakes on that number progressing.
Members of the Richmond Division Motors Unit demonstrated a portion of the Ride 2 Save Lives self-assessment courses at Virginia State Police Headquarters on Midlothian Turnpike, Friday morning.
“By helping riders hone their skills and increase their awareness on the road, we can prevent motorcycle fatalities in Virginia,” said Sergeant Chuck Kain.
In 109 crash fatalities involving motorcycles on Virginia’s highways in 2017, 107 of those deaths were the motorcycle drivers, according to Kain.
It’s a 50 percent increase in crashes from 2016. Kain feared that 2018 may surpass that total.
He said there are several reasons that may factor into why the death toll for motorcyclists is rising including reckless operation.
"You’ve got people that operate motorcycles that probably shouldn’t. They lack the skill or the ability to ride the ones they do have," Kain suggested. "A lot of time it’s older people who buy the larger motorcycles who’ve never ridden before and they just can’t operate the motorcycle properly."
Ride 2 Save Lives coincides with Highway Traffic Safety Month that Governor Ralph Northam designated during the month of April.
The program was created the intention of increasing rider safety and reducing motorcycle fatalities, according to press release.
"Our sincere hope is that Ride 2 Save Lives courses will inspire riders to think of motorcycling and safety as one in the same,” Kain said.
Ride 2 Save Lives self-assessment courses are geared towards intermediate and experienced riders, focused on enhancing their safe practices on and off the road.
Topics covered include motorcycle maintenance and daily checks, raising a downed motorcycle, curve negotiation, interstate highway riding and more.
A course for 30 participants will be offered one Saturday every month until November. You’re asked to have some motorcycle riding experience prior to signing up.
The courses debuted last year in the Richmond and Salem regions, but VSP expanded the program to Chesapeake and Fairfax after receiving overwhelming demand.
A comprehensive listing of Ride 2 Save Lives courses across the state can be found by visiting virginiastatepolice.eventbrite.com.
Registration is free and can be completed online.