Ontario Provincial Police sound alarm over near record number of motorcycle deaths in 2022

The alarm is being raised by the Ontario Provincial Police West Region over a near record number of fatal motorcycle crashes.

The Western Region, which includes Essex County, has recorded 12 fatal motorcycle crashes since the start of 2022, a 71% increase from the same period a year ago, which is also ahead of all other areas of the province patrolled by the OPP.

The 12 fatalities are also tied with the 10-year provincial average for the region, on track to set a new record.

Inspector Shawn Johnson says that in addition to fatalities, there have been a number of serious injuries as a result of the increase in motorcycle accidents.

“Lost limbs, feet, legs, serious head injuries did not die from a collision with a motorcycle vehicle, but suffered life-altering injuries as a result of it,” did he declare.

In total, OPP Western Region officers responded to 108 motorcycle collisions in 2022, with 57 injuries, 21% more than the same time a year ago.

Inspector Shawn Johnson lists speed and loss of control as the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in 2022, which he says seem to go hand in hand.

“What we’re seeing is motorcyclists not driving defensively. The majority of fatal motorcycle crashes occur on Saturday and Sunday between 12pm and 6pm on clear, dry days,” he says.

Men between the ages of 56 and 64 are the main demographic group when it comes to motorcycle collisions.

Inspector Shawn Johnson says Essex County is a wonderful area that is flat with good visibility, but too often people let their guard down because riders think the sight lines are so great.

“Such a beautiful area in Essex County, but we’re seeing unnecessary collisions,” he says. “The interesting thing with that, 74% of motor vehicle collisions involving motorcycles this year in which people died, it was considered the motorcyclist at fault.”

To date in 2022, there have been 25 motorcyclist fatalities in Ontario, compared to 16 fatalities to date in 2021.

The OPP Western Region works with the Essex County OPP on traffic enforcement, which includes aerial law enforcement along from Highway 401 and Highway 3.

The recent spike in motorcyclist deaths in the West Region prompts the OPP to urge drivers to protect themselves by ensuring road intersections are clear of traffic before proceeding, by wearing bright protective gear and by enrolling in a Ministry of Transportation approved motorcycle safety training program.

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