Motorcycle Safety

Riding a motorcycle is a fun, exciting way to travel and experience the beauty of Virginia

However, riding a motorcycle is serious business and requires extra concentration and additional training. Virginia’s motorcycle requirements are designed to ensure the safety of motorcyclists as well as others traveling on the road.

Motorcyclists may build skills through DMV’s Virginia Rider Training Program or the Virginia State Police Ride 2 Save Lives assessment courses (more info below).

Virginia Rider Training Program

  • If you don’t think you have the knowledge or skills to pass the motorcycle operator license tests, or you would like to improve your skills, you should enroll in one of DMV’s motorcycle rider training courses.
  • Classes are designed for both beginning riders and experienced riders, and are taught by certified motorcycle safety instructors. Classes will provide you with the opportunity to learn new techniques and practice your skills in a controlled, safe environment.
  • Classes are offered at community colleges and other locations throughout the state

VA State Police: Ride 2 Save Lives

  • Classes provide the opportunity to learn new techniques and practice skills in a controlled, safe environment. Classes are offered at community colleges and other locations throughout the state.
  • The Virginia State Police Ride 2 Save Lives (R2SL) free assessment courses are for riders at a novice skill level and above. Attendees practice rider safety through the Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide and Execute process. How to handle hazards, special situations, interstate highways and curve negotiation are taught in a safe environment with the assistance of the Virginia State Police motor troopers.
  • Attendees need to bring a valid Class M2 endorsement and a motorcycle with a current safety inspection.

Wear the Proper Gear

Despite the best prevention efforts, motorcycle crashes do occur.

In a crash, the most important factor for reducing injury to a motorcyclist is personal protection. The proper riding gear—a helmet, eye protection, leather jackets and trousers, durable gloves, and proper footwear—can provide this personal protection.

Your Helmet

A helmet is the most important safety equipment a motorcyclist wears.

Helmets are about 29 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. A rider without a helmet is 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury than is a helmeted rider.


Eye Protection

Since many motorcycles don’t have windshields, riders must protect their eyes against insects, dirt, rocks, or other airborne matter. Even the wind can cause the eyes to tear and blur vision, and good vision is imperative when riding.

Motorcycle operators should choose good quality goggles, glasses with plastic or safety lenses, or a helmet equipped with a face shield.

Jackets & Trousers

Clothing worn when riding a motorcycle should provide some measure of protection from abrasion in the event of a crash. The clothing should be of durable material (for example, special synthetic material or leather).


Durable, non-slip gloves are recommended to permit a firm grip on the controls. Leather gloves are excellent, as are special fabric gloves with leather palms and grip strips on the fingers. Gauntlet-type gloves keep air out of a motorcyclist’s sleeves.


Proper footwear affords protection for the feet, ankles, and lower parts of the legs. Leather boots are best. Durable athletic shoes that cover the ankles are a good second choice. Sandals, sneakers, and similar footwear should not be used since they provide little protection from abrasions or a crushing impact. Motorcyclists should avoid dangling laces that can get in their way.

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