Motorcycle deaths in Ontario spike 60 per cent this year: OPP
Published Monday, August 31, 2020 6:47AM EDT
KITCHENER -- Each summer motorcyclists hit the roads to make the most of the warmer months, but provincial police say this year has been a particularly dangerous one.
OPP say they've seen a spike in fatalities involving motorcycles, up 60 per cent compared to last year.
According to police, 25 people have been killed in a crash involving a motorcycle in Ontario, compared to 16 last year.
Most of these fatalities involve men aged 45 to 54, with crashes happening on clear, dry roads in the middle of the day.
Motorcyclist Khaalid Baccus has been riding for about a year and a half and says he still gets a bit nervous when he gets ready to hit the road.
"My mom and my dad both said you're crazy for driving a motorcycle," he says.
“I have a wife, two kids at home and it's a fun hobby but it's also dangerous. The number one thing is to come home safe.”
Baccus says he always takes extra precautions and is aware of his surroundings.
"Anticipate other people's moves, don't put yourself in a position that might cause an accident."
OPP say in half of the fatal collisions, the person riding the motorcycle was not at fault.
“They don't have the luxury of having a safety cage, airbags and crumple zones like you would have in a passenger vehicle,” said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, spokesperson for the OPP Highway Safety Division.
Waterloo Regional Police say there have been 10 motorcycle collisions so far in 2020, three of which were fatal and seven resulting in major injuries.
There were a total of 13 motorcycle crashes in Waterloo Region in 2019. Three were fatal, and 10 that resulted in major injuries.
Carol Ann Whalen owns 2nd Gear Motorcycle Culture & Collectibles in Ayr and says wearing the right equipment can save your life on the road.
"We always say 'dress for the slide and not the ride,’” she says.
She recommends riders wear a full helmet, armoured jacket, protective pants, gloves and boots.
“People don't see you out there, the other drivers are so distracted,” she adds.
Whalen is also an experienced rider and says throughout the years she's seen many close calls.
Now, instead of "looking twice to save a life" she looks four times.
“If that guy doesn't see you, then you have to plan ahead and get out of that tricky situation.”
OPP are also reminding drivers that being behind the wheel is a privilege and to give motorcyclists the space they need on the road.