Good to Know

Bodies are Soft, Everything Else is Hard

Motorcycle rider
Written by Patti Foley


Motorcycle Deaths Up, Off-road Vehicle Deaths Down heading into May Long Weekend      

(ORILLIA, ON) – As the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) gets ready for a busy Victoria Day Long Weekend on Ontario roads and trails, OPP officials are reporting a nine-year high in motorcycle deaths, with 32 people having died in motorcycle crashes on OPP-patrolled roads in 2014.

In contrast, OPP-investigated off-road vehicle (ORV) deaths are the lowest they have been in 11 years, with 11 people having died in 2014.

While the geography and terrain are vastly different for these two driver classes, there are a few common factors that place both of them at a higher risk of death than those who drive other types of motor vehicles.

Factor #1: Neither the motorcyclist nor ORV rider are restrained in these types of vehicles and ejection almost always occurs in the event of a crash.  

Did you know? 

  • Last year, all 11 people who died in ORV crashes and all 32 of those who died in motorcycle crashes were ejected.
  • Ejection is one of the most injurious if not fatal events that can occur to a person in any type of vehicle crash and motorcycles and ORVs are no exception.

The hard truth about crashes: bodies are soft, everything else is hard

  • When you are ejected from a motorcycle, ORV or any other type of motor vehicle, you become a flying projectile traveling at the same rate of speed as the vehicle was traveling at the time of the crash. This is also your rate of speed when your body makes contact with whatever surface/object (e.g. windshield, pavement, rock, tree, etc.) breaks your flight after you are ejected.

Another common factor has to do with driving behaviour rather than the vehicles.

Factor #2: Losing control and/or speed almost always exceed other factors in fatal crashes involving motorcycles and ORVs from year to year.

 Did you know? 

  • Six of last year’s (2014) 11 fatal ORV crash victims lost control of their ORV.
  • Loss of control and/or speed were factors in 14 of the 32 motorcycle
  • In the event of a crash, wearing an approved helmet gives motorcyclists, ORV riders and passengers their best chance of avoiding serious head injury and death in the event of a crash. 
  • Over the last five years (2010-2014), of the 74 riders who died in ORV crashes, almost half (36) of them were not wearing a helmet at the time.

Over the Victoria Day Long Weekend, the OPP expects to see motorcyclists and ORV riders in great numbers throughout the province. They are counting on all of them to keep themselves, their passengers and all those with whom they share the road and trails safe at all times. This means refraining from consuming alcohol and drugs before heading out for a ride and observing all other laws associated with motorcycle and ORV riding.

Just as important is the need for all motorists to increase awareness of their surroundings on the road, to always be on the lookout for those often hard to spot motorcyclists and to share the road safely with them.

The OPP is also reminding motorists that Canada Road Safety Week gets underway this week and runs through the long weekend (May 12-18, 2015). This is an annual, national campaign during which the OPP will be joining its policing partners to raise awareness through enforcement and education of the four main driving behaviours that put all road users at risk. These are: driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs; lack of occupant restraint; driving while distracted; and aggressive driving.

Every road user can play a part in reducing the “Big 4” killers on our roads during Canada Road Safety Week and throughout the year.


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About the author

Patti Foley

Having spent 25 years in Bolton, Patti remains an advocate for Caledon. As a former Regional Councillor and a long-time community volunteer she is passionate about communicating information about its issues, news, events, people, non-profits and businesses.

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