Motorcyclist fatalities on the rise in Virginia

Published 2:26 pm Friday, April 6, 2018

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, last year, Virginia recorded the highest number of motorcyclist fatalities in a decade.

One-hundred-and-seven motorcyclists were killed in 2017 on Virginia roadways, compared to 72 in 2016 — a nearly 50-percent increase. Ninety motorcyclist fatalities were reported in 2011, the previous decade high.

“We are working every day to reduce traffic crashes and save lives on Virginia Roadways,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “DMV, VDOT, public safety and community partners are urging motorcyclists and motorists to give their full attention to driving and following the rules of the road.”

“A large number of motorcycle crashes occur when the motorcyclist is traveling too fast and loses control of his bike,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Following a safe speed is a simple solution for these types of crashes. Other crashes can occur when a person driving a car, or example, doesn’t see the motorcyclist because of inattention or a blind spot. We encourage motorists to be aware of motorcyclists sharing the road and to make sure you know where they are in traffic before changing lanes.”

Additional statistics the DMV shared were that 44 percent of motorcyclist fatalities in 2017 occurred between noon and 6 p., and 40 percent of all single-vehicle motorcycle fatalities involved a motorcyclist with a blood alcohol content above the legal limit.

Zero motorcycle crashes were reported for the city of Franklin in 2017. However, Isle of Wight County had a total of 11 crashes, nine of which resulted in injuries and Southampton County had four crashes, all four of which resulted in injuries.

Motorcyclists can take advantage of the Virginia Rider Training Program, which offers statewide motorcycle classes for both beginning and experienced riders. Details on the program are available at