On­tario biker deaths hit 10-year-high

Simcoe Reformer - - FRONT PAGE - DALE CAR­RUTHERS

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.

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