Motorcycle deaths surge in August

Slow down, police warn.

Police are warning motorcyclists and motorists alike to slow down this summer as road fatalities climb.

Footage captured by the RCMP helicopter Air One of a motorcyclist driving erratically at high rates of speed from Burnaby to Surrey along Highway 1 this past weekend is prompting a warning from police: Slow down.

The motorcycle featured in the footage recorded on Aug. 20 just after 2:00 am was paced at over 165 km per hour at one point, though he was going faster than that in some areas and slower in others, said Air One tactical flight officer, Cst. Curtis Brassington.

“I calculated the time it took him to drive between the Brunette overpass and the 152nd overpass (a distance of approximately 7.75 kms) and worked out his average speed to a little over 140 km/h.”

Cst. Brassington did not witness the motorcyclist cut off other drivers – most likely because traffic was light at 2 am, however, he did drive through three stop signs on residential streets.

A freeway RCMP officer eventually caught up to the motorcycle after the driver stopped in front of a residence near 110 Avenue and 160th Street.

There have been a staggering number of serious motorcycle accidents this August – four deaths and another crash involving life-threatening injuries in RCMP-policed areas of the Lower Mainland.

In 2011, there have been the following motorcycle traffic fatalities: • One in Mission; • Two in Chilliwack on forest service roads; • One on Highway, 99 Sea-to-Sky-Highway; • One on Highway 1 near McCallum Rd overpass; • One in Burnaby ; • One in Surrey;• (Plus 1 in Langley, with life-threatening injuries)

“The main contributing factors seem to have been the speed of the motorcycles, and the inability of the drivers to react quickly enough to their surroundings,” said RCMP Supt. Norm Gaumont, head of Traffic Services for the Lower Mainland.

He likens the erratic driving of the motorcyclists  to “literally gambling with your life.”

“I know motorcycles can be a lot of fun to drive, but those drivers have to know the risks, and should never assume other motorists see them,” said Gaumont.

As motorcycle season continues through October in the Lower Mainland, Gaumont is urging drivers of other vehicles to keep an eye out for motorcycles and cyclists, and slow down when making turns.

The RCMP will continue to enforce speeding and other major contributing factors that are causing serious injuries and deaths, Gaumont added. During the month of July and August so far the RCMP have laid the following charges:
• 443 excessive speeding tickets were given out with the vehicle impounded 
• 7,574 speeding tickets; • 4,855 seatbelt violations; • 1,899 intersection violation; 
• 1,983 electronic device charges;

Impaired charges include:• 369 with three days prohibition; • 471 with 30-day prohibition; • 43 refusals with an automatic 90-day prohibition; 
• 127 drug impairments with 24-hour prohibition.