While blues skies and warmer weather may mean the start of motorcycle season for many riders, a rash of deadly motorcycle accidents across the GTA serves as a stark reminder of the dangers that exist when cars and motorcycles share the road.
Saturday was a particularly deadly day for riders across Toronto as police responded to three separate motorcycle crashes in a span of 24 hours.
A 31-year-old male motorcyclist and his 28-year-old passenger were pronounced dead at the scene after their bike slammed into a car in Brampton early Saturday morning. Hours later, a man in Vaughan died in hospital after his motorcycle crashed into a tree near Hwy. 400 and Cityview Boulevard. And yet another man was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries on Saturday evening after a collision in the city’s east end.
The OPP are asking drivers and motorists to be more vigilant on the road as more and more motorcycles come out for the summer.
Police note that impaired, distracted and aggressive driving are all common contributing factors in motorcycle crashes across the province.
Officials say motorcycles are much more vulnerable on the road because they are harder to spot and provide no protection in the event of crash.
Bernard Santos, a motorcycle instructor for the Rider Training Institute, says bikers need to remain alert and aware of their surroundings at all times.
“You don’t have that cage to protect you, you’re open to more of the elements and there’s a lot more things going on, a lot more things to control. You just have to me more aware of where you are,” he told CTV Toronto.
According to the OPP, a total of 28 motorcyclists died in 2013, compared to 26 in 2012 and 21 in 2011.
After a brutal winter, many riders have been anxiously waiting to finally get back out on the road, but experts say there is a danger in the first few rides of the season, regardless of whether you are an experienced biker or just starting out.
“Coming off a cold winter, (motorcyclists are) thinking that they are the same rider and the roads are the same as when they left in the fall, thinking it’s the same corners they can take, the same exact way. They have to be a little bit more aware coming out now, that things are a little different,” Santos said.
Motorcyclist Ian Kochberg says he is always aware of the risks that come with riding a motorcycle in the summer.
“I have a sense of how dangerous it can be, but I also see a lot of drivers of cars and motorcycles driving very foolishly, so safety is always a concern,” he said.
Brad Cross, a motorcyclist training with the Rider Training Institute, says that while many motorists drive erratically when sharing the road with bikers, it is up to the rider to protect himself.
“You have to be watching everybody else, watching cars coming in and out, you’re responsible for your own safety out there,” he said.
“When something goes wrong in a car, you may get a fender-bender but if something goes wrong on a bike it’s a really big deal.”
With a report by CTV Toronto’s Scott Lightfoot