After deadly 2018, motorcyclists urged to take training to reduce risks
For many Nova Scotians, the Victoria Day long weekend is the unofficial start to summer.
For many motorcycle owners, it's the time for that first long ride.
But the Nova Scotia government is hoping it will be a safer summer for riders in 2019 than last year.
Nine people died in motorcycle accidents in Nova Scotia in 2018, the highest number of fatalities in the last five years.
"People who take rider courses and enhance their skills are more likely to handle and predict incidents before they happen," said Mike Tops, a manager with Safety Services Nova Scotia.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and the province is promoting safety in hopes of reducing the number of motorcycle accidents on Nova Scotia roads.
"We want to remind all drivers and riders that motorcycle safety is a shared responsibility," said Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines. "A moment's inattention on our roads can cost you or someone else their life."
548 collisions since 2007
Hines's department recently released a report on motorcycle collisions that showed there were 92 fatalities and 461 major injuries recorded in 548 motorcycle collisions since 2007.
Jimi Swinamer, the president of Bikers Down Society, lost a good friend in a crash last summer. Lloyd Munroe died after a collision Aug. 11 on Highway 311 near Tatamagouche.
"We want to increase awareness on how motorists and bikers can safely share the road and encourage motorcyclists to take a refresher course," said Swinamer.
Safety Services Nova Scotia offers three different motorcycle training and licensing courses.
"Our goal is to help people understand what's going on out there so we can help them avoid the issues, rather than being involved in the issues," said Tops.
The data in the provincial report broke down the 548 collisions. Seventy-nine occurred when motorcycles turned left across opposing traffic.
The highest number,151, occurred when vehicles ran off the road to the right.
"We can surmise those incidents are happening because people are being forced off the road, or they are possibly driving around avoiding potholes, avoiding animals in the road, things like that," said Tops.