Motorcycle injuries go up

Last year, 330 people were injured in 440 motorcycle crashes in B.C.'s Southern Interior.

Those numbers are coming from ICBC as it enters its Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May, and as weather starts to clear up, paving the way for riders to hit the road. An average of 11 motorcyclists die each year across the region.

ICBC road safety program manager Mark Milner says, overall, motorcycle crashes are up in the province, and last year's injuries in the Southern Interior are up over the five-year average of 270.

"We do see some fluctuation, and some of that is due to the fact that there are more motorcyclists on the road than there used to be, but some of it is also that there were more crashes in British Columbia," Milner said.

"We're still looking at exactly what the reason is, but ... there were more cars registered in British Columbia in 2016 than there had been in the previous year."

About 60 per cent of motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle.

"It tends, usually, to be the car (at fault) in multi-vehicle crashes. Now, motorcycles, of course, are pretty well solely responsible for the single-vehicle crashes that they're in," Milner said. "In the Southern Interior, we see a higher incidence of single-vehicle crashes because there's a lot of riders out on the highways and they go into curves too fast."

With many multi-vehicle crashes caused by cars turning in front of motorcycles, Milner says general motorists should avoid distractions, particularly as they approach intersections, and make an effort to see motorcycle riders.

"If you don't see a motorcycle the first time you look, look again just to make sure," he said. "If you do see a motorcycle, the best thing to do is to let them pass before you execute your turn or your lane change.... It's often difficult to determine how fast a motorcycle is travelling because they're fairly small."

Motorcycle crashes tend to peak at around July and August, but Milner said they pick up around this time of year, as the weather clears up and people start hopping on their motorcycles for the first time of the season.

In the South Okanagan, so far, there have been a couple of notable motorcycle crashes already this year, including one that resulted in a fatality after the rider was transported to hospital.

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