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'Start slow, practice': Police advise caution to motorcyclists shaking off the rust going into riding season

A motorcycle and helmet. May 28, 2024 (Cam Wiebe/CTV News Edmonton) A motorcycle and helmet. May 28, 2024 (Cam Wiebe/CTV News Edmonton)
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With temperatures rising and summer just around the corner, motorcycles are back on the roads and police are asking riders to be careful.

The warning comes on the heels of two April crashes in Edmonton where motorcyclists were injured.

"We just like to bring awareness to people who are new into the season of motorcycling, make sure they're practicing good safety habits, good driving skills and wearing the proper safety gear, helmets and clothing to go along with the motorcycle riding," said Sgt. Kerry Bates with Edmonton police.

On April 20, a rider was left with serious, non-life threatening injuries after he went off the road and rolled in a ditch on 82 Street north of Anthony Henday Drive.

On April 23, a group of motorcyclists was seen weaving through traffic at a high speed when one of them hit a truck from behind, according to police. The rider was thrown off the bike and slid down the road, also suffering serious, non-life threatening injuries.

"From the viewpoint of a motorcycle rider, you just can't take that for granted that somebody's going to be watching for you," Bates said. "On a motorcycle, you just don't have the option of safety equipment that you would have in a car like airbags, a big steel surrounding to keep you safe.

"Generally, just by following the basic rules of the road, not following too close, not speeding, do your shoulder checks for lane changes, turns signaling, simple stuff like that will keep you very, very safe throughout the city."

Between 2019 and 2023, there have been 635 crashes involving motorcyclists in Edmonton, according to police. Of those, 381 resulted in injuries and 11 resulted in a fatality.

Data from the City of Edmonton shows that the top three driver errors in a crash where a motorcyclist is at fault are:

  • Rider ran off the road - 41 per cent;
  • Rider followed too closely - 30 per cent;
  • Rider changed lanes improperly - seven per cent.

"Even if you've been riding for 30 years, it's 30 years, four months at a time," Bates said. "You should start slow, practice, maybe go to a parking lot and do some turns and what have you just to get comfortable on the bike again off the street if you think you need that.

"Start out slow and build yourself back to your skill level."

The Alberta Safety Council offers courses and online resources for new and experienced motorcycle riders. 

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