Fatal Virginia Motorcycle Crashes Spiked in 2017 and Reached Three Figures
Deadly Virginia motorcycle crashes spiked in 2017, reaching a 10-year high, according to new official figures.
The 2017 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts Report published by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and the Virginia Highway Safety Office highlighted 108 fatal motorcycle crashes claiming the lives of 107 riders last year.
This was the highest number of fatal motorcycle crashes over the past decade, according to officials. The number of deaths of motorcyclists last year was almost 50 percent higher than in 2016 when 72 riders lost their lives. The previous high was 90 in 2011. There were 2,119 motorcycle crashes in the Commonwealth last year, a 10.4 percent increase on the previous year.
Although fewer overall vehicle crashes occurred on the roads of Virginia in 2017 than in 2016, the number of fatalities rose to 843, a 10.8 percent jump in deaths.
We are alarmed that Virginia motorcycle crashes spiked in 2017. Although more people are riding motorcycles, the rise may also be a result of bikers being hit by distracted drivers.
The rise in biking deaths in Virginia appears to have pushed up the overall tally of those who lost their lives. It’s a sobering statistic in an era when cars are meant to be becoming safer.
Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine issued a statement urging riders to exercise care. She said:
“We are working every day to reduce traffic crashes and save lives on Virginia roadways. 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.”
The Hampton Roads area saw 25 fatal motorcycle crashes last year. Virginia Beach saw more motorcycle crashes than any other Tidewater location: 134 of which 6 were fatal. Additionally:
- Six motorcyclists died in Newport News in 2017;
- Five motorcyclists died in Suffolk;
- Two lost their lives in Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Hampton respectively.
In many cases, motorcyclists are killed at intersection wrecks with cars and trucks making a left turn.
Drivers often fail to see other vehicles in front of them when they are making a turn. They are particularly oblivious to motorcyclists.
It’s not clear if the behavior of other drivers has become worse. Rises in fatal crashes are often due to a wide range of factors.
Virginia Motorcycle Crashes Spiked in 2017 – The Causes Remain Unclear
A number of surveys suggest more motorcyclists are being killed and injured across the country. According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 4,976 motorcyclists died in crashes across the nation in 2016.
Although motorcyclist deaths declined since the early 1980s, the figure began to increase in 1998 and continued to rise through 2008. Motorcycle deaths comprised 13 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2016. That figure was more than double the number of motorcyclist deaths in 1997.
In Virginia, motorcycle crashes made up a mere 1.7 percent of all highway accidents in 2017. However, the 107 deaths were 12.7 percent of all fatalities.
In total, 770 motorcyclists were seriously injured – 708 drivers and 62 passengers. These motorcyclists represented 10 percent of all motorists who were seriously injured last year.
Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their loved ones in motorcycle accidents or the riders who were seriously injured. At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we have helped many motorcyclists who suffered terrible injuries due to the careless actions of drivers. Please call us for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077. See our questions and answers about motorcycle accidents in Virginia.