Every summer brings out more vehicles traveling on BC’s roadways, including motorcycles. There have been a number of motorcycle related fatalities in the Southeast District this season and this concerning to the RCMP Traffic Services officers who police the area, many of whom are riders themselves.
According to provincial data, motorcycles make up about 3% of insured vehicles on BC’s roads, yet they make up approximately 10% of roadway fatalities. On average, 32 riders are killed and 2400 crashes involving motorcycles occur on BC roads every year.
Police would like to remind motorcyclists about legislation in the Motor Vehicle Act with respect to helmets and seating:
• Motorcycle riders and passengers are required to wear Snell, ECE or DOT compliant helmets; and
• Seating laws require motorcycle riders to keep their feet placed on the foot pegs or floorboards or be seated in a sidecar. Violation of seating requirements will be treated as stunt riding and will result in motorcycle impoundment and fines. Impoundment is mandatory.
Other safety tips include:
• Wear an approved helmet. DOT, Snell or ECE approved helmets are now law in BC. Ensure you display proper label in order to avoid being checked by police. Look for an expiry date and update your helmet if necessary;
• Always carry out a visual inspection of the motorcycle (Tires, oil levels, brakes, gas);
• Wear highly visible protective gear including jacket, pants, gloves and riding boots. Choose clothing that has fluorescent material and reflective striping;
• Double your awareness, particularly at intersections. Visual contact with all other road users is a must and remains a highly effective way to avoid collisions. More collisions occur at intersections than anywhere else;
• Always respect speed limits and where needed, adjust your speed for the conditions and when approaching road curves in order to negotiate them properly.
Drivers sharing the road with motorcycles can help prevent a crash by following these easy tips:
• Scan intersections carefully and take an extra moment to look for motorcycles when you’re turning left.
• Stay alert and avoid distractions that take your mind off driving or your eyes off the road.
• Allow at least three or four seconds of following distance when behind a motorcycle and plenty of lane space when you pass.
• Be ready to yield as a motorcycle is often closer than it seems. Remember it can be hard to tell how fast they’re travelling.
Motorcyclists of all ages and skill levels, including those who have had an extended absence from riding, may want to consider taking refresher training at a riding school or go here for more information including an on-line skills test.
“As a police officer and a professional motorcycle rider, I know all too well the dangers motorcyclists face”, says Inspector Dale Somerville, Officer in Charge of RCMP Southeast District Traffic Services. “I urge all motorcycle operators to take training, heed the rules of the road and ride defensively – your safety depends on you.”
In regions of the province where motorcycles are prevalent, motorcyclists may expect to see police checking riders and machines for licencing and safety compliance in an effort to keep them safe and reduce incidents on our roadways.
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