OUR VIEW: Too many motorcyclists are dying on our roads

This summer has been deadly for motorcyclists – and we’re only halfway through the hot months.

Three people have died in motorcycle crashes so far this summer on Burnaby/New Westminster streets – the latest was just last week on Griffiths Drive, a crash police strongly hinted was due to excessive speed. There’s also been a fourth serious crash in Burnaby, but that rider looks like he will thankfully survive.

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It makes sense that the number of crashes goes up when the weather gets warmer, but the number of fatalities is still excessive when you look at overall traffic statistics: motorcycles represent only 1.5 per cent of insured vehicles, but 10 per cent of all road fatalities.

Motorcycle riders are especially vulnerable during a crash. 

Drivers of cars and trucks often have uneasy relationships with cyclists and motorcyclists. 

Social media platforms are filled with angry exchanges and blame coming from both sides. 

Instead of blame, let’s try some respect and caution. Try following these tips from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation.

  •  Leave space – Allow at least three to four seconds of following distance when behind a motorcycle and plenty of lane space when you pass.
  •  Look around – Scan intersections carefully, check blind spots and take an extra moment to look for motorcycles when turning.
  •  Be ready to yield – Motorcycles are often closer than they seem. Since it can be difficult to tell how fast motorcycles are moving, be prepared to yield.
  •  Stay alert – Leave your phone alone and avoid other distractions that take your mind off driving, or your eyes off the road.

Tips for motorcycle riders to stay safe include:

  • Be seen –Dress to be seen and protected. Wear reflective clothing, bright colours and an approved helmet and riding gear.
  • Target open spaces – Leave yourself as much space as possible between your motorcycle and other vehicles on the road.
  • Cancel your signals – Check your signals to ensure you are not indicating a turn when you are continuing straight ahead.
  • Avoid centre of lane – When traffic slows, keep to the left or right of your lane, to allow yourself an exit strategy in case a vehicle behind you fails to stop in time.

It’s that last one that really bothers drivers. 

They hate when motorcyclists zoom between cars when lined up at a traffic light. 

It’s mostly due to jealousy, but whatever the cause, let’s all just calm down and share the road in a safe manner.

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