On Motorcycles and Riding Safety

In my previous article, I mentioned the advent of spring, the warmer weather – well, I may have spoken too soon. On the 11th day of April, the day this article was written, a “low” of -3°C was recorded in the Greater Toronto Area. It is the average minimum (or coldest) temperature around this time of year. However, coming from consecutive sunny days with double-digit temperatures, a sub-zero reading is not something to be desired.

April is expected to bring us rain showers and warmer days. For me, as a motorcyclist, it marks the start (although early to some folks) of riding season. I have had the pleasure of owning several motorcycles from different manufacturers including Triumph, Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycles. By far, my favourite has been the latter – yes, I am a proud owner of an Indian Scout 60.

A very agile cruiser with a 1000-cc displacement, which is in my opinion, powerful enough to provide a fun riding experience.
Riding season – the Ministry of Transportation runs safety campaigns to remind motorists of motorcyclists on roadways and highways. Electronic signs are aplenty along the Highway of Heroes or, what most of us refer to as Highway 401.

Police services in Ontario run traffic safety campaigns (sometimes called “blitzes”), periodically. These campaigns are an effective way to remind motorists of the presence of cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians, including school children (around the start of the school year). In Toronto, we have units that are dedicated to traffic enforcement. And no, police officers do not have to meet a monthly “quota” as most of you think.

My policing experience is somewhat limited to initial response (9-1-1 calls, non-emergency calls, general patrol duties) and community safety response (community complaints, community safety initiatives). This does not mean that I have not been involved in investigations involving loss of life – including traffic fatalities.

One summer afternoon in east-end Toronto, I became involved in such an unfortunate incident. This one truly stands out, negatively, as a young, novice motorcyclist lost his life. Witnesses stated that the motorcyclist rode at an “extremely high rate of speed,” causing him to lose control of his supersport motorcycle.

I have vivid memories of the incident. I remember the deceased’s family and friends as they flocked to the crash scene. I could still hear the cries and their pleas to let them through the “police line.” Folks and my dear kababayans, most if not all collisions (or accidents) are avoidable. Speed is usually a factor. Sadly, for the young motorcyclist, it was a costly mistake.

And so, consider this a friendly warning, a plea or reminder – riding season is here. To motorcyclists, please keep in mind that you are riding a two-wheeled machine. You are not afforded any room for error. Make sure you wear at the very minimum a CSA-certified helmet, riding gear and the appropriate clothing. A “wheelie” is considered as stunt driving under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. Read below:

The HTA states, under s. 172(2) that:

Every person who [commits the offence of stunting or racing] is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six monthsor to both, and in addition his or her driver’s licence may be suspended,

Anyone convicted faces hefty fines and sanctions.

To all motorists, please be mindful of the presence of cyclists and motorcyclists on the roads. Let us have a fun and safe riding season!

AT YOUR SERVICE,

by Police Constable Matt Romeral

The contributing writer is a proud Filipino and an 11-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service, assigned to 32 Division in North York. An avid cook, photographer, artist, writer and entrepreneur.

Questions or comments? Please send an e-mail to [email protected]

Follow me on Social Media: Facebook @Constable Matt Romeral, Twitter and Instagram: @OfficerRomeral.