RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is reminding motorcyclists to wear a helmet.
This comes after the state agency said there have been seven motorcyclist deaths, in which the rider was not wearing a hemet, so far this year.
DMV says this is a decade high for such deaths.
“A helmet is the most important safety equipment a motorcyclist wears,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb. “Before you even think about getting on your bike, make sure you have on the proper gear, including an approved helmet.”
Virginia state law does require motorcyclists and their passengers to wear a helmet meeting or exceeding the standards and specifications of the Snell Memorial Foundation, the American National Standards Institute Inc., or the U.S. Department of Transportation.
DMV says helmets are about 29 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.
But a rider without one is 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury than a rider wearing one.
In all, there have been 87 motorcycle-related deaths as of Nov. 15, compared to 83 during the same time frame in 2018.
During 2017, there were no unhelmeted motorcycle fatalities. In 2016, there were four and in 2015, there were three.
DMV says it offers the Virginia Rider Training Program for both beginning and experienced riders, with courses being taught by certified motorcycle safety instructors.
These courses allow riders to learn techniques and practice skills in a controlled environment. They are offered by community colleges and other locations across Virginia.
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