Western Region Western OPP stress importance of motorcyclist safety amid jump in fatal collisions – London

The Ontario Provincial Police are sounding the alarm and urging motorcyclists to “make their safety a priority” amid a noticeable increase in fatal collisions this year involving motorcycles.

At least 12 motorcyclists have died in collisions in the West Region so far this year, police say. This represents an increase from the seven reported during the same period in 2021. Of the collisions reported in the last eight months, 74% involved the motorcyclist at fault.

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“Twelve is the regional average we have had for the past ten years. So if things don’t change, we are in a position to set a very tragic record,” the OPP Inspector said. Shawn Johnson in an interview Thursday with Global News.

Johnson was among four speakers at a Thursday morning press conference outside the OPP detachment on Exeter Road, held to draw attention to the issue.

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Only midway through the year, Johnson says police fear the West Region could break the record of 19 fatal motorcyclist collisions that was recorded in 2016.

Grey-Bruce and Norfolk counties had the most motorcycle deaths in the West Region with three each. The OPP Western Region covers an area of ​​Southern Ontario as far west as Essex, as far north as the Bruce Peninsula and as far east as Haldimand Counties and Wellington.

Although a number of factors have contributed to the high number of motorcyclists killed this year, the main causes are loss of control and speeding, Johnson said.

“Loss of control can be anything from going too fast in a corner or hitting gravel in the road or just not being careful and missing a turn and going off road,” he said.

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“Some of them (involve) other vehicles, and a lot of them, ultimately, are a single motor vehicle – a motorcycle that leaves (the roadway) and hits a tree.”

Another factor is that there are simply more motorcycles on the road than there were before, Const. Melissa Tutin, Motor Vehicle Officer and Collision Reconstruction Specialist with the Ontario Provincial Police.

“People have some wealth maybe saved from COVID time, maybe not. But there are a lot more motorcyclists, which I love as a motorcycle enthusiast, but at the same time…the skill levels don’t necessarily correspond to the number of motorcycles that are out there,” she said.

Tutin described a “massive increase” in the number of motorcycle collisions she has had to witness – collisions where someone has died or had their life permanently altered.

Click to play the video: 'Traffic advice: motorcycle safety'

Traffic advice: motorcycle safety

Traffic Advice: Motorcycle Safety – March 29, 2022

Collisions involving motorcyclists can occur with motorcyclists of any age and sex, but Johnson and Tutin say the Western OPP have noticed a trend: collisions occurring between noon and 4 p.m. on sunny Saturdays and Sundays and dry spells involving male drivers between the ages of 56 and 64.

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“What’s happening is people seem to be saying, ‘I’m going to have a nice quiet walk with my partner or alone’ and not be on their toes,” Johnson said, a sentiment echoed by Tutin.

“These runners go out sporadically on nice days and go out to have fun and maybe their mindset is more of a relaxing time than possibly being assertive and defensive,” Tutin said.

According to statistics from the Ontario Provincial Police, 87% of victims involved in fatal motorcycle collisions in the West Region this year were male. Nearly 30% are between 56 and 64 years old.

All 12 motorcyclist fatalities reported in the West Region this year occurred in clear road and weather conditions.

“If you think about the fact that you have nothing to protect yourself from except your helmet, gloves and jacket, that should be a reason for you and you need to understand that whatever is out there can potentially hurt you. “, said Tutin.

“So be careful, have a good time and have fun, but never be so relaxed that you forget what you’re doing there.”

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The OPP urges motorcyclists to ensure intersections are clear before crossing them, wear bright protective gear and enroll in an MTO-approved motorcyclist safety training program , such as that offered by Fanshawe College.

Such programs can be useful both for young riders just getting started and for older seasoned riders who haven’t ridden a motorcycle in a while, said John Patrick, chief instructor of the training and riding course. Fanshawe motorcycle test.

“We are a bit slower in our thoughts and movements, which can cause us to lose control of the bike,” he said of older riders.

“If you’ve been riding for a while and all of a sudden you’re riding after not riding for ten years, you might still think that was ten years ago…and you don’t have the skills needed to get around this bend, you forgot them.”

Safety training programs can even be helpful for current cyclists looking to brush up on current technology and the ever-changing rules of the road, Patrick said, noting the changes that have been implemented over the years. decades on the courses themselves.

“When I took the Fanshawe course in 1982 we rode a seesaw. It was the last seesaw I was on. Our course now, we are more up to date with the routes and the skills we need to ride on the roads than 40 years ago,” he said.

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— With files by Sawyer Bogdan

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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