Fairfax County motorcycle officer training coincides with Motorcycle Safety Month

Two of the 32 full time Fairfax County motorcycle patrol officers in the middle of training how to brake correctly. (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)

CHANTILLY, Va – Two serious crashes involving motorcycles in our region on successive days, April 30 and May 1, closed down an interstate leaving one person dead and another critically injured.

There is now some evidence that such crashes are a growing danger in the region.

Fairfax County has the highest number of motorcycle crashes in Virginia. There were 190 in 2012 up 14 percent from the 139 crashes in 2011.

Seven crashes in the past year led to fatalities.

Police say it’s both the motorcyclists and the drivers of other vehicles who are to blame.

Officer Chad Burrow says speed and a driver’s blind spots are the major causes of accidents. He says bikers need to watch where they are riding.

Burrow was at the Fairfax County police training facility in Chantilly Wednesday, where motorcycle cops were demonstrating how they train.

“You ought to avoid riding beside a vehicle for a long period of time, cause you’re setting yourself up in that blind spot,” Burrow says.

Inexperience in negotiating curves and braking the right way also lead to many crashes, Burrow says. Changing lanes is another common cause. They are all skills routinely practiced by motorcycle cops as part of their training.

“Signal first, let everybody around you know that you are intending to make that lane change and at that point, hopefully the people that are in cars can give you some room,” he says.

He also advises motorists to steer clear of the “Rocket bike” type of motorcycle which tend to travel at higher speeds.

Watch the officers brake on command here:

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