2016 could be deadliest in 5 years for Ontario motorcylists, OPP reports

2016 is setting up to be a dangerous year for motorcyclists, according to Ontario Provincial Police.

'If someone is inattentive and doesn't see you...there's a good chance you're going to die that day'

A Honda and Harley were involved in an early morning crash that killed the driver of the Harley in October 2015. (Dale Molnar/CBC/Twitter)

2016 is setting up to be a dangerous year for motorcyclists, according to Ontario Provincial Police. 

Twenty-five people have died in motorcycle crashes in province through July 11, the police service reports.

That's only six shy of the 31 recorded deaths in all of last year. If the current trend continues, the OPP predicts 2016 would "far exceed" that number. 

Over the past five years, 164 motorcyclists and their passengers have been killed in parts of Ontario patrolled by OPP. 

The yearly breakdown of fatalities is below:

  • 2011 — 21
  • 2012 — 27
  • 2013 — 28
  • 2014 — 32
  • 2015 — 31
  • 2016 — 25

The OPP reports most of the collisions occurred at intersections where motorists are not paying enough attention. There's also an issue with inexperienced riders who lose control of their bikes.

'I wasn't willing to take the risk anymore' 

OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor gave up riding last fall following a week with three fatal collisions.

"I wasn't willing to take the risk anymore," he said. "I'd been to one too many crashes. Regardless if you're in the right or in the wrong, if you're in a collision on a bike, you are going to be at the receiving end of serious injuries and or death."

Rektor said he felt drivers were becoming too distracted. Even though he'd been an experienced rider, he still felt apprehension when crossing an intersection.

"The older I got, the more nervous I became," he explained. "You can take all the precaution you want, but if someone is inattentive and doesn't see you or doesn't stop at the intersection, there's a good chance you're going to die that day." 

Awareness needed

Mike Inglis owns a motorcycle dealership in London, Ont. He's been riding motorcycles for nearly 50 years, including some time spent as a professional racer.

He was surprised the number of fatalities is so high. He said he'd heard of "quite a few" deaths earlier this season, but felt last year was worse.

He echoed Rektor's comments about distracted driving, saying he often sees drivers adjusting their GPS or checking their phone at an intersection. With that going on, motorcyclists need to be aware of their surroundings all the time. 

"You have to throw your leg over a motorcycle and say, 'Someone is going to get me.' You really need to be aware of what's going on around you," Ingliss said. 

The OPP released its numbers following two fatal collisions in Essex County recently, with one incident involving a vehicle blowing through a stop sign. 

On June 25, Colin and Laurie Jackson were killed after their Harley Davidson was broad-sided by a minivan at the intersection of County Road 26 and Rochester Townline Road near Comber. The minivan ran through the posted stop sign and struck the bike.

Monday, 57-year old James Clark was killed after being pinned beneath a transport truck at a section of Malden Road near South Talbot, just outside the Town of Essex.