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Recent motorcycle deaths emphasize need for safety

4 of 7 traffic deaths in Virginia this weekend were motorcyclists

ROANOKE, Va. – One of the busiest travel weekends of the year proves a little safer for some Virginians.

New numbers show there were fewer deadly accidents in the commonwealth this Memorial Day weekend compared to last year, but it's shedding light on a growing problem on local roads.

State police say seven people were killed in traffic accidents in Virginia this weekend. Four of those were people riding motorcycles. This has been a problem in southwest Virginia recently too.

Just two weeks ago, a man died riding his motorcycle in Henry County. One motorcyclist died in Roanoke city at the beginning of May, another mid-April, and a third at the end of March.

Star City Power Sports sales manager Phil Harwick said it's a two-way street when it comes to motorcycle safety.

“Take your time. Start out slow. Don't override your abilities because typically the machine will outperform your abilities. So be slow, be cautious but at the same time, just go have fun," Harwick said.

One of the biggest mistakes Harwick said he sees is improper equipment, whether that's tires, air pressure or brakes.

He has a message for all drivers, too.

"Look twice before you pull out. Look twice before you change lanes because motorcycles are a small target. You don't see them all the time. So always just look for them," Harwick said.

Two of the motorcyclists who died this weekend were not wearing helmets.

State police say the number of traffic deaths on Virginia roadways is down 50 percent since 2015, but even one death is one too many.