Tri-Cities see two motorcycle crashes in recent days as weather gets warmer

The Tri-Cities

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As spring weather rolls in, more motorcyclists are expected to hit the roadways, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“People go crazy. Of course, we’re anxious to get on our bikes,” said Denise Ruffilo, store manager of Cycle Gear in Richmond.

Central Virginia has already seen two motorcycle crashes in recent days. A minor was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries from a motorcycle crash in Petersburg Thursday.

On Feb. 4, a motorcyclist was killed in Hopewell following a crash with an SUV. The driver of the SUV has since been charged.

The DMV is urging drivers on motorcycles and in cars to be on the lookout as the weather gets nicer so tragedies are prevented.

“You see, like today riding around, I saw about 30 bikes and people aren’t used to seeing them, and we’re a lot smaller so we get cut off all the time. We’re not as big as cars,” Ruffilo said Thursday.

When it comes to riding a motorcycle, wearing proper gear from head to toe can save lives, said the DMV. They say a helmet is the most important piece of safety gear a motorcyclist can wear.

In Virginia, it is illegal to drive or ride on a motorcycle without one.

Beyond safety equipment, Ruffilo is always on the alert. “What I do and a lot of bikers do, older bikers, we act like we’re invisible. Act like cars don’t see us and give yourself room, make safe passes,” she told 8News.

If you are behind the wheel of a car, the DMV says allow for extra distance behind motorcycles, check your blind spots and look twice before changing lanes or pulling into traffic.

“I know it sounds cliché, but that ‘look twice, save a life,’ it’s true. You look, don’t see anything, look again because a bike may be coming up,” said Ruffilo.

The DMV also reminds motorists that motorcycles’ turn signals aren’t always self-canceling like a car’s turn signals. Some riders may forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change.

They also urge drivers to be aware that when motorcyclists adjust lane position within a lane, they are not being reckless or trying to show off. The adjustment is often made to improve visibility and to minimize the effects of debris, passing vehicles or wind.

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