British Columbia

Motorcyclist deaths more than double in B.C.

Preliminary data from the B.C. Coroners Service shows 30 people died in motorcycle crashes from January to July 2018.

30 people died in motorcycle crashes in B.C. from January to July 2018, according to coroner

Speed is the leading factor in motorcycle crash fatalities, according to ICBC. (Shane MacKichan)

The number of motorcyclists killed in crashes has doubled this year compared to the same time period last year, according to the B.C. Coroners Service. 

Based on preliminary data, 30 people died in motorcycle crashes from January through July 2018, with 18 in July alone. That is an increase of 114 per cent over the same period in 2017.

"Speed is the leading factor for motorcycle crashes," said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC's interim vice-president responsible for road safety in an news release. 

"ICBC strongly encourages motorcyclists to keep within posted speed limits at all times, and to wear full protective gear to protect themselves in the event of a crash," she said. 

Motorcycle instructor Brian Antonio agreed that unsafe driving is causing the deaths. He is the director of ProRide Motorcycle Training, and says his organization has noticed an uptick in crashes.

"You want to make sure you stack the deck in your favour," said Antonio, refering to safe riding practices.

"You want to wear the proper gear, get the proper training, and not get on a bike that's too much for you."

Antonio also said his organization is seeing more people take up motorcycle riding in general. He thinks that's because high gas prices has made people reconsider their transportation methods.

"It's a little bit cheaper sometimes on a bike, so we've been getting an increase in the enrolment for our school as people seek cheaper options."

'To their destination safely'

According to a study by the B.C. Coroners Service, speed and impairment are the leading contributing factors to motorcycle fatalities over the past decade. 

The study also found that environmental factors, such as slippery roads, contributed to 23 per cent of the deaths.

Factors related to other drivers contributed to 14 per cent of the fatalities. 

The coroner released the numbers ahead of the Labour Day long weekend to remind all road users to be cautious, given the expected increased activity on provincial roads and highways. 

"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," said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe. 

Read more from CBC British Columbia

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