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Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: Richmond RCMP shares safety tips

Speeding and maneuvering down the shoulder of a roadway are some actions that increase risk of accidents, according to police.
Richmond RCMP's Cpl. Peter Somerville was "instrumental" in developing RCMP's motorcycle course training standard, according to Richmond RCMP.

Richmond RCMP is emphasizing the importance of defensive driving and safety preparations during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

According to ICBC statistics, there were 258 crashes involving motorcycles recorded in Richmond between 2018 and 2022, with 150 involving injuries or fatalities.

The highest number of crashes, seven, took place near the George Massey Tunnel, followed by four crashes each in the area near Arthur Laing Bridge and Bridgeport Road at Sweden Way.

Richmond RCMP road safety unit's Cpl. Peter Somerville, who has more than 31 years of service and expertise as a certified RCMP motorcycle operator, said he learned about the "unpredictable nature" of riding motorcycles from a close call three months after taking the motorcycle course.

"I decided to pass one more vehicle before making a sharp right turn; however, I was going too fast, and my bike hit a patch of sand, causing my rear brake to lock up, and my motorcycle skid into a streetlight, throwing me off," Somerville recalled, adding he was not seriously injured.

"It was a stark reminder of the importance of adjusting speed to match road conditions and the value of always being prepared and aware."

Motorcycle safety tips

Somerville offers the following tips for safe riding:

  1. Always wear full, proper gear including gloves, eyewear, and an approved helmet.
  2. Be vigilant of the road ahead, and do not exceed your riding abilities.
  3. Regularly check your motorcycle’s condition before each ride.
  4. Take time to warm up. Practice manoeuvres in safe areas and pay attention to your own alertness and mental state.

Common motorcyclist offences, according to Somerville, are "speeding and manoeuvering down the shoulder of the roadway, especially during rush hours."

He explained that such actions "dramatically increase the risk of accidents" as motorcycles offer limited protection compared to cars.

"Don’t assume visibility. Just because you see them — whether a car, pedestrian, or cyclist — doesn’t mean they see you," Somerville added.

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