RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Officials in Virginia say the state is seeing an alarming uptick in the number of motorcycle deaths where the rider wasn’t a wearing a helmet. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles said in a press release Tuesday that seven motorcyclists who weren’t wearing helmets died this year. The department said the number is the highest it’s been in a decade. The state says that helmets are about 29 percent effective in preventing motorcyclist deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. Put another way, the state says a rider without a helmet is 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury. The state also said that motorcycle-related deaths are slightly higher this year. As of November 15, 87 people have died compared to 83 last year.