May 23, 2015 - 8:34 AM
PENTICTON - A huge jump in the number of motorcycle crashes — and the number of fatal crashes — has prompted members of the RCMP South Okanagan Traffic Service into action.
Sgt. Harold Hallett says up to 2013 the region averaged a single fatal motorcycle crash each year. In 2013, there were two and last year four people died in motorcycle crashes on South Okanagan roads and highways.
“We want to get ahead of this, because if this current trend continues, we’re looking at eight fatalities this year,” Hallett says.
Motorcycle crashes with injuries were up 38 per cent in 2014 and 18 per cent of all fatal and injury collisions involved motorcycles, he says.
The RCMP staged a motorcycle safety demonstration this morning, May 22, in the South Okanagan Events Centre parking lot to demonstrate counter steering and other safe cornering techniques.
Hallett says results of crash investigations in many cases revealed cyclists entering curves at excessive speed or with inadequate skills, resulting in the bikes crossing the centre line and striking other vehicles — or leaving the road entirely.
“Many crashes involve men in their 50s and 60s, who often have their wives with them. When they crash, the driver has the bike to hold on to, but the passenger is generally thrown off, often to be struck by an oncoming car," he says.
"We’re not saying don’t ride, but we urge new riders or those returning to motorcycles after a long absence to take a professional riding course, and slow down when entering curves."
Hallett says RCMP will be focussing on enforcement and education throughout the 2015 riding season.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015