With the remnants of snow and ice still on city streets, they’re already out there — those black-jacketed motorcyclists zipping in and out of traffic with great blasts of exhaust and roars of ear-splitting noise.
Bundled up against the wind and lingering cold, die-hard bikers are as predictable as the change in seasons.
Unfortunately, just as predictable is the inevitable carnage on our highways. Sadly, it won’t be long before another motorcyclist dies due to an accident quite possibly caused by inattention on the part of those who prefer to travel on four wheels.
The Insurance Corp. of B.C. has taken note of the increased number of motorcyclists on the province’s roads.
Indeed, it reports that there were 98,000 bikes insured in 2011, up substantially from 49,000 a decade earlier.
It also notes a rather grim statistic — bikers are eight times more likely to die and 41 per cent more likely to be injured in a crash than other road users.
Obviously, this is mostly due to the lack of protection offered motorcyclists when they’re on the road. Ironically, it’s also one of the major attractions bikers have to travelling on two wheels.
According to ICBC, the most common cause of motorcycle accidents when the rider is at fault is excessive speed. The most common cause when others are at fault is driver inattention.
The most dangerous situation for motorcyclists is when cars are making left-hand turns, accounting for more than 40 per cent of all crashes. Usually, the car strikes the motorcyclist when the bike is going straight through an intersection or passing the car.
There are other high-risk manoeuvres done regularly by bikers, including lane-splitting (when the motorcyclist drives between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving cars), and unsafe zig-zagging through traffic.
Last summer ICBC released a map that pointed out bad intersections in Kamloops, with a handful in the Sahali and downtown areas highlighted as the most dangerous to ride a motorcycle.
One of the best ways for drivers to do their part to reduce the chance of being involved in a collision with a motorcycle is to simply pay attention and watch for people travelling on two wheels — especially at intersections.
Although they take up less room on the road, motorcyclists need full lane in order to travel safely.
This year, motorists can do themselves and bikers a favour by giving them the space they deserve.
A little extra attention could save a life.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.