Motorcycle incidents sparking calls for motorists to share the road

By Scott Roblin
May 15, 2018 - 5:05pm Updated: May 15, 2018 - 7:07pm

 

MEDICINE HAT, AB – Motorcycle crashes have been all too common in Alberta this spring, in what’s been a deadly start to Motorcycle Safety Month.

After a pair of incidents in Medicine Hat this week, police are asking the public here to share the road before tragedy strikes.

On Tuesday, a 33-year-old man from Calgary was airlifted to hospital after crashing his motorcycle along the Trans-Canada Highway in the Kin Coulee dip.

According to Sgt. Clarke White with Medicine Hat Police, the motorcyclist was driving aggressively when he clipped a vehicle waiting at the intersection of 16th Street SW.

“It's evident that the motorcycle was travelling at excessive rates of speed, driving fairly aggressively through traffic,” said White. “We're talking rush hour traffic, early morning on a weekday.”

Losing control and thrown into the curb, the motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital in Calgary by STARS Air Ambulance and suffered serious, potentially life-changing injuries.

“He did have all the proper safety equipment, it's probably what we can relate to him being alive right now,” he said. “Without proper safety equipment, it could have been a lot worse.”

It’s the second case in two days involving motorbike travelling at high speeds for Medicine Hat Police.

On Monday morning, police charged a 51-year-old motorcyclist after he was clocked going 121 kilometres per hour along 13th Avenue SE, a whopping 71 kilometres per hour over the speed limit.

White said it’s incredibly risky for bikes with that power to be driving so fast on busy roads like 13th Avenue.

“There's so much going on, there's so many uncontrollable factors in play, that you can't drive that fast and expect to get away with it,” he said.

Over a three week span, there have been seven deaths associated with motorcycle crashes across Alberta after two more fatalities over the weekend.

Alberta Motorcycle Safety Society president Liane Langlois said something needs to change for all motorists to share the road.

“Traffic safety starts with each and every single road user, whether you're a driver or a rider,” said Langlois. “That responsibility starts with you, you're the only person who controls what you do on the road.”

Groups like the Alberta Safety Council meanwhile, are pushing to mandate motorcycle education across the province.

Program Director of Traffic Safety Mark Dobbelsteyn said a remarkable 80 percent of all motorcyclists have never taken training classes for their Class 6 license, like you would for a normal license.

“It's always been concerning and I think all the years that I've been here, there's always been talk of should it be mandatory, should it not be?” said Dobbelsteyn. “It is kind of sad that many people do not take any training.”

White added motorists need to be aware that their decisions can impact lives forever, and offered a solution for those wanting to test out their speed.

“If you want to feel the adrenaline rush, if you want to drive at a high rate of speed, then that's what the racetrack is for,” he said.

Motorcycle riding instruction classes are held throughout the year at Medicine Hat College, with the next session being held in July.

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