Following what they say is a “spike” in motorcyclist deaths this summer, the BC Coroners Service (BCCS) is reminding all road users to be cautious and safe on the long weekend, given the expected increased activity on provincial roads and highways.
According to BCCS preliminary data, 30 people died in motorcycle crashes from January through July 2018, with 18 in July alone. This is more than double the number of motorcycle-involved deaths occurring from January to July 2017.
Over the past decade, more than half of decedents occurred in the summer months, and motorcyclists were more likely to be injured on Saturdays (25% of deaths) and Sundays (20% of deaths) than on the other five days of the week.
“BC Coroners Service data signals a significant increase in deaths involving motorcyclists this summer,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner. “Our goal is to prevent deaths in similar circumstances by raising awareness of the fatalities and sharing preventative measures, so everyone can get to their destination safely.”
The BCCS said they have seen “key trends” in motorcycle fatalities over the past 10 years. Among these trends:
- Motorcyclist speed and impairment continue to be the leading contributing factors;
- The majority (83%) of decedents resided in BC;
- Nine in every 10 decedents were male;
- The Interior and Fraser health authority regions had the highest number of motorcyclist deaths (in 2018 to date, 12 and 10 deaths respectively – making up 73% of all motorcyclist deaths).
A detailed BC Coroners Service study of the factors that contributed to motorcycling deaths in all concluded investigations from 2008 through 2018 found that, overall, factors relating to the motorcyclist and/or motorcycle contributed to 70% of all fatalities.
“Speed is the leading factor for motorcycle crashes,” added Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s interim vice-president responsible for road safety. “It makes it difficult to respond to unexpected events, or to correct for errors.”
The study also found that environmental factors, such as slippery roads, contributed to 23% of the deaths, and factors related to other motor vehicles and their drivers contributed to 14%.
“The British Columbia Coalition of Motorcyclists has been deeply concerned and saddened by the alarming amount of fatalities involving motorcyclists this year,” said Tara Briscoe, manager, BC Coalition of Motorcyclists. “We hope that by raising public awareness on the matter that this number will decrease and that we can finish this riding season with fewer casualties.”