Police look to increase awareness of motorcycle safety on National Ride to Work day

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 6:28 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Monday is the 30th annual National Ride to Work Day, where motorcyclists are encouraged to ride their bikes to work and police look to increase motorcycle safety on the roadways.

According to the DMV, there have already been 482 motorcycle involved crashes and 30 fatalities across the state this year. As the weather warms, police are reminding drivers to stay alert.

“They go through the winter months and they’re not so used to seeing a motorcycle, and not thinking to look for a motorcycle, so as it warms up we need to remind them to look for motorcycles,” said Sgt. Wayne Westfall, the head of the Harrisonburg Police traffic division.

Officials say it can be easy for drivers to overlook motorcycles, which leads to a larger number of accidents.

“When you have a motorcycle that is not at fault in an accident, a lot of times what you’re seeing is people in a hurry, not paying attention to the smaller vehicles, and just your generalized distracted driving,” said Justin Joiner, a Virginia State Trooper.

Motorcyclists are also in danger from debris like grass clippings in the road. “Any debris that’s on the roadway can be hazardous, especially then if you have water, you have storms come through, then it makes it even worse it kind of becomes compounded,” said Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson.

Police encourage riders to wear proper DOT approved equipment and avoid driving at high speeds. Sergeant Westfall adds that drivers need to be aware because motorcycles are usually closer than they appear and that drivers often don’t have as much time to pull out ahead as they may think.

He says this happens in Harrisonburg from time to time. “We have our fair share of motorcycle crashes in the city that anyone else has, you know one crash is one too many as far as I’m concerned.”

Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson says the windy roads in Rockingham county can often create problems for even more experienced cyclists, he also emphasized the importance of drivers and cyclists being mindful of each other.

“If both parties are alert, everybody out there is alert then we’d have a whole lot safer roadway,” said Hutcheson.

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