According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office, in 2012, motorcycle riders who were injured made up about 3% of all traffic injuries in Virginia. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents accounted for over 10% of all traffic fatalities in that same year.
When motorcyclists are involved in traffic accidents, the injuries they receive more usually more serious than other motor vehicle operators, and these injuries are more often fatal. The most common injuries from motorcycle accidents are injuries to the brain, the spine, and the internal organs, as well as broken bones (fractures), all of which can be life-threatening. A fracture can be debilitating for weeks or months. Brain injuries can be fatal, and if not, may affect the injured person for weeks, months or even years; permanent personality changes and/or loss of motor control are also common from brain injuries. These serious injuries are the reason 46 states including Virginia have laws requiring the use of helmets while riding motorcycles.
How can you minimize the risk of a motorcycle accident and serious injuries?
- Always wear the proper safety gear such as a helmet and eye protection.
- Wear proper clothing. In addition to a helmet and eye gear, this includes jackets, long pants and long sleeve shirts.
- Take part in a motorcycle safety training class.
- Follow the rules of the road and always pay attention to your surroundings and other motorists. You may end up in another motorist’s blind spot so make sure you are aware of vehicles around you.
- Do not drive in poor weather conditions, especially those that reduce visibility for you and other motorists, such as rain, sleet, snow and fog.
- Keep your motorcycle in good running order with scheduled periodic tune-ups and regular tire checks.
- Remember that a motorcycle can often stop more quickly than other motor vehicles, so be aware of vehicles behind you, their following distance, and try not to brake too quickly.
- Every motorcyclist knows that other motorists aren’t looking for motorcycles and don’t see them as easily as other, larger motor vehicles. Be aware of this, and try to avoid sudden moves and lane changes.
 See 2012 Virginia Traffic Crash Facts found at: http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/
 See footnote 1 above.
 See review of laws by the Governors Highway Safety Association at: