Virginia State Police hosts class to reduce fatalities

SALEM, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Virginia State Police partnered with motorcyclists to share their experiences and help drivers prepare for difficult situations on the road.

Ride 2 Save Lives is a class taught by the police to help motorcycle drivers break their bad habits and go back to the basics when operating their motorcycles.

The free course took place in a church parking lot and used cones as obstacles that drivers face every day. Police said that the most common motorcycle accidents are stand alone and are preventable, so they use this opportunity to educate.

"So many of them are single vehicles and is just where they failed to properly negotiate a turn and ran off the road and those are situations that we want to discuss in this class and talk about negotiation of curves, proper stopping, things like that, that are in the motorcyclist's control." said Timothy Knight, First Sargent for Area 39 and Motorcycle Training Coordinator.

This program was created three years ago and the class is offered once a month. In 2017, there were 99 motorcycle fatalities in the state of Virginia. In 2018, the fatalities reduced to 87. So far in 2019, there have been 48, fewer than previous years by mid-August. The police and participants of the Ride 2 Save Lives course believe that this class has an impact on the decline.

"When you stop at a stoplight, its one of the most dangerous places. You're in an intersection and you want to be able to avoid it. How many times do people freeze up and run right into something? And so the state troopers have taught us." said Kelly Plyler, a participant of the class for the second time.

Even though the class happens multiple times a year, it remains the same every time. People at the class said it's nice to have a refresher and practice, because the basics don't change.

"Its the same course, but I'm still honing skills and I'll be back again. All the videos that you listen (to), all the audio that you listen (to), about how can you ride better is practice. So this is my practice." said Plyler.

The class is open to anyone of all experience levels with a motorcycle license. The next class will be September 21, 2019 at the Lakeside Baptist Church. Classes run from 8:30a.m. to 1:00 p.m. You can register at eventbrite.com.

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