OPP: Motorcycle deaths set to overtake last year’s toll

Hamilton, ON, Canada / AM900 CHML

Ontario Provincial Police are urging caution on the roads as motorcycle deaths are on track to reach a seven-year-high in Ontario.

Police say that as of August 18, there have been 26 deaths of people riding on motorcycles within OPP jurisdiction. That compares with 29 deaths in collisions involving motorcycles last year, and 26 the year before.

The Canada Safety Council’s Raynald Marchand says there’s plenty of blame to go around.

“About have of the motorcycle collisions overall that there are no other vehicles involved,” Marchand tells the Scott Thompson Show, Thursday. “When you look at the other have, close to 50-50, maybe a little heavier on the car’s side, made a lane change inappropriately.”

The Council is also seeing an increase in bikes and a change in the demographic of the riders.

“It’s three times what we had back in the 70s, so there’s going to be exposure levels,” said Marchand. “What’s differrnet from what we used to have, there are a lot of people who are middle aged in Ontario, or even later in life, that take motorcycle on, or even return to motorcycle.”

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt says with four more months left in the year, it’s likely Ontario’s motorcycle-related deaths will surpass last year’s record.

He says police want to dispel common myths about motorcycle collisions as they urge all motorists to drive defensively.

Police say while many think young, inexperienced motorcyclists account for the largest number of victims, only 16 out of the 175 motorcyclists who’ve died on Ontario roads between 2008 and August this year have been under the age of 25.

They say those aged between 45 and 54 account for the highest number of fatalities, followed by those aged 55 to 64.

Police also say that in the majority of fatal motorcycle crashes, the driver of the motorcycle was found to be driving properly at the time.

They say because motorcycles are harder to see than other vehicles, the actions of another driver are often a factor.

Police are reminding motorcyclists to wear high visibility equipment and position themselves properly in lanes to increase their chances of being seen, while also reminding other motorists to be on the watch for motorcycles, especially before changing lanes.

(The Canadian Press)

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