Officials urging people to stay safe this long weekend

Officials urging people to stay safe this long weekend

While it might not feel like summer yet, officials are warning people to take extra caution while out and about this long weekend.

The Ontario Provincial Police announced this week that deaths linked to off-road vehicles and motorcycles are on the rise – a statistic police find troubling ahead of Victoria Day weekend.

According to a recent OPP statement, OVR deaths have hit a four-year high: police said a total of 20 people died in ORV accidents in 2013, nearly double the 12 deaths recorded in 2012.

By comparison, 14 deaths occurred in 2011 and 17 in 2010.

Police caution that motorcyclists are also vulnerable while out on the roads, with the OPP saying it recorded 28 motorcycle deaths in 2013, up from 26 in 2012.

“Impaired, aggressive and distracted driving are all common contributing factors in motorcycle crashes investigated by the OPP,” police said in a statement. “Sadly, in some cases, the riders were not doing anything wrong when the collision occurred.”

Meanwhile, other are urging safety on Ontario’s waterways to cut down on drowning deaths and other water-related fatalities.

Last year, there was an eight-per-cent increase in drowning deaths compared to 2012 and an almost 50-per-cent increase in boating fatalities.

The Lifesaving Society – which works to prevent water-based fatalities – says every one of these boating accidents were preventable.

Officials are also reminding people that only licenced boaters are permitted to drive and operators’ cards need to be carried at all times. They also suggest alcohol should be left on shore.