26 people killed in motorcycle crashes so far this year: OPP
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, August 21, 2014 11:58AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 21, 2014 6:53PM EDT
TORONTO -- Ontario could be headed for a seven-year spike in motorcycle deaths and all motorists need to exercise caution, the provincial police warned Thursday.
The OPP said as of Aug. 18, 26 people -- 25 motorcyclists and one passenger -- had died in crashes within the force's jurisdiction.
That compares with 29 deaths in collisions involving motorcycles all of last year, and 26 the year before.
"Last year from this time forward, we recorded nine more fatal collisions in the fall season. So, we could certainly beat the record and have the worst motorcycle season in at least seven years and probably beyond," said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt.
He said the collisions were happening in ideal road conditions and more than half of the victims were between the ages of 45 and 64.
Schmidt said it was difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for the surge in accidents, but complacency within the motoring public could be a reason.
In 50 of the last 175 fatal collisions, "the motorcyclist was actually recorded as driving properly at the time, which tells us that other motorists are contributing to these collisions," Schmidt said.
Police are reminding motorcyclists to wear high visibility clothing 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.
Experts agree on the need for all to be vigilant on the roads.
Amrit Toor, a British Columbia-based forensic engineer specializing in accident reconstruction, said the primary cause of a collision is the fact that other road users don't always see a motorcycle.
"They are so focused on looking for other vehicles, and by other vehicles, I mean four-wheeled vehicles."
He said motorcyclists are also vulnerable because very often they are camouflaged in traffic, especially those wearing dark clothing, and some riders don't always wear the right type of helmet.
"There seems to be a trend, at least in trendy motorcycle riders, to wear what is known as a mini helmet, which is really a skullcap more than a helmet," Toor said.