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2009 already deadliest year for motorcycle accidents

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Two unrelated fatal motorcycle crashes over the weekend – killing Scott Allen Neill and George Michael Watts – has brought the total in Hampton Roads in 2009 to 13, The Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday.

The 2009 total is more than double the 2008 total of six. The newspaper said 10 people died in 2007 motorcycle crashes, while seven people died in 2006 motorcycle crashes.

Warm weather draws more people to their motorcycles, Adam Bernstein, a Virginia Beach police spokesman and motorcycle rider, told the newspaper.

“You’ve got your hard-core riders that ride year-round, then you have most of us who are the fair-weather riders,” Bernstein was quoted as saying. “When it starts to warm up, you see a lot more bikes out.”

“Riding the bike isn’t the hard part. The hard part is watching what everybody else is doing,” Bernstein said. “Your reaction time slows down, and reaction time is paramount on a motorcycle.”

Alcohol was a factor in both crashes, the Daily Press reported. Neill, 40, lost control of his Harley Davidson on Daimler Drive in Virginia Beach and struck a mailbox and then a power pole, a Virginia Beach police spokeswoman told the Daily press. Watts, 39, of Mercedes Court, was eastbound on Witchduck Road when he struck a BMW at the intersection of Alfriends Trail. Alcohol was also a factor in this crash, the spokeswoman said.

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