May is motorcycle safety awareness month, and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are urging both riders and drivers to watch out for each other.
In 2022, there were 44 motorcycle-related deaths on OPP patrolled roads, which was the highest number since 2017. That includes 19 in the West Region alone.
Media Relations Coordinator Derek Rogers said it almost splits 50-50 in terms of who is at fault in these collisions.
"One of the things that we hear from drivers, most commonly, after a collision is that they simply didn't see the motorcyclist," said Rogers. "That speaks to the awareness that the driver needs to have of other people on the road around them, and also for motorcyclists maintaining that defensive posture behind the handlebars and ensuring that you've got something bright on, too."
Rogers said all motorists are being told to be responsible, defensive, attentive, and alcohol and drug-free.
"Anytime that anyone has too much to drink and gets behind the wheel or behind the handlebars, that's a danger particularly for motorcyclists," he said. "We know that people are much more vulnerable on a motorbike than they are in any other kind of vehicle. They have very little protection so it becomes that much more important that they take those safety measures into account when they're on the highway."
Rogers said riders between the ages of 45 and 64 have accounted for 51 per cent of motorcyclist fatalities in the past ten years.
"Whether these are riders that are returning to the hobby, or they are new to it, our message to those folks is take a training course," he said. "Even if you rode 20 or 30 years ago, it's important to refresh your skills. Get back and take that approved training course at a local college, or wherever it may be, and get your skills up to where they need to be to get onto the highway and protect yourself."
Over the past ten years, 38 per cent of OPP-investigated motorcyclist fatalities have occurred on provincial highways.