Middle-aged riders account for half of motorcycle deaths

Ontario Provincial Police are warning that motorcycle deaths in the province are headed for a 7-year high this summer.

Ride Lake Superior tourism program and website offers advice on safe motorcycling

National coordinator of the Motorcycle Rider Training Program Raynald Marchand poses with his motorcycle while riding around Lake Superior. (Supplied)

Ontario Provincial Police are warning that motorcycle deaths in the province are headed for a seven-year high this summer.

According to police statistics, nearly half of bike fatalities since 2008 were people between the ages of 45 and 64.

Raynald Marchand is the national coordinator of the Motorcycle Rider Training Program, and has been a rider himself for over 40 years. 

He said many people pick up the sport in their middle years, and that creates challenges.

"We have a large body of population that buy large displacement motorcycles and they ride very little. So, as a result of that, they are novice riders from year to year to year. They don't ride often with a significant amount so that they become proficient motorcyclists." 

Marchand said the lack of experience can lead to mistakes.

"When they come into situations that are a little bit outside what you are used to, you may not be reacting exactly the same way, or you may have a tendency to panic at that moment in time," he said. 

"There is also a case where many of these riders will ride with others, as part of the group, and they may be riding outside their comfort zone."

Knowing your limits is part of the checklist provided on the Ride Lake Superior website, said Paul Pepe. 
City of Thunder Bay tourism manager Paul Pepe is an avid motorcycle rider. (Supplied)

Pepe is the manager of tourism for the City of Thunder Bay, and an avid motorcycle rider.

He said tourism officials are aware that the circle tour of Lake Superior is very popular with baby boomers and that's why they provide plenty of safety advice on the website.

Pepe said the website encourages motorcyclists to stay hydrated, eat well and stop frequently.

"We promote the attractions, the rest stops. We promote those things that encourage a rider to slow down a little bit, to pace themselves, to not put such high miles on, on a given day and to really enjoy the ride for what it is." 

OPP say 26 riders have died so far in 2014, with at least two more months of the season left to go.


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