VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach police are warning motorcyclists about being safe on roadways — especially after an officer was injured in a crash just last week.
Last Thursday, police say a motorcycle officer was heading eastbound on Dam Neck Road, responding to an accident with injuries near London Bridge Road. The officer had his lights and siren activated. As he passed S. Rosemont Road, the motorcycle and a Nissan SUV collided.
“Police bikes are designed to take a beating but not this kind of beating,” said Sgt. Brian Ricardo of the Virginia Beach Police Department.
The battered bike is a reminder of how quickly a ride can go wrong.
Sgt. Ricardo is in charge of the department’s motorcycle unit. He says officers are responding to an increasing number of motorcycle crashes.
Ricardo says they’ve already had 130 calls from January to July of this year. That’s up from 103 during the same time last year.
“The last thing we want as police officers — especially motorcycle officers — is to respond to a motorcycle crash,” Sgt. Ricardo said.
Police say out of the nine fatal accidents in the city, five involved motorcyclists. Ricardo says they were caused by driver error.
“Either the rider is riding beyond their capabilities, riding in weather capabilities when they shouldn’t be riding, or riding drunk or under the influence of something when they shouldn’t be riding.”
Ricardo wants bikers to be more aware of what they can handle and he also wants drivers to be on the look out to prevent crashes that he says happen often at stop lights.
“Give it that one extra pulse. Make sure it’s clear before you go through the green light.”
While the officer injured last week is recovering and is already back at work, Ricardo says it’s also important to give police motorcyclists the respect and distance they need.
“If you see us running lights and sirens on a motorcycle, then give us that little bit of extra room so we can get throughout intersections, road,” Sgt. Ricardo said.
Virginia Beach police say regardless of if you’re on a motorcycle or not, you should never drive under the influence.