Ontario biker deaths hit 10-year-high
With less than a month to go before motorcycle season wraps up, this year’s death toll has already hit a 10-year high on Ontario roads.
There have already been 38 motorcycle fatalities on OPPpatrolled roads, up from 36 last year, and significantly higher than the 28 deaths recorded a decade earlier.
Fourteen of the deaths happened in the OPP’s west region, an area that encompasses Southwestern Ontario, down from 18 last year.
Police are doing their part through education and enforcement, Sgt. Dave Rektor said, but drivers are ultimately responsible.
“Yet we still see people on both sides of the fence, both four-wheel and two-wheel operators, not caring for each other, not looking out for each other and making grave mistakes,” Rektor said.
Statistics show male motorcyclists are far more likely to die than their female counterparts. Twenty- nine men have died in motorcycle crashes this year, compared with just nine women.
But the number of women killed in motorcycle crashes is steadily rising — it’s now at its highest rate in a decade -- as more females take up the dangerous pastime.
And it’s not just motorcycle drivers who are dying in crashes. Four of the 37 people killed this year were passengers, a number that has held steady for the past two years.
Two motorcyclists were killed in collisions in Haldimand County this summer. In June a Ridgeway motorcyclist died in a crash on Highway 3 near Dunnville. At the end of August a Selkirk man died when his motorcycle left the road on Haldimand Road 53. A Norwich man was also killed in a collision in September when his motorcycle and a pick-up truck collided on Highway 59.
Rektor can’t pinpoint what’s behind this year’s spike in deaths, but he said he still sees to many risky behaviours on the roads.
“You see motorcycle operators travelling without protective gear on, driving with shorts and sandals on, doing 140 . . . and you just shake your head. It’s absolute lunacy,” he said.
A former motorcyclist, Rektor gave up riding for good four years ago after being called to too many crash scenes.
“I will never ride again,” he said.