According to numbers from the BC Coroners Service, motorcycle deaths took a significant increase in 2018 over 2017.
In 2018, the Coroners Service says 51 motorcyclists died in crashes in BC. That’s up from 34 motorcyclist deaths in 2017, and higher than any other year in the past decade. A look at the study shows that most years, fatalities number in the 30s.
According to the report, there were 314 vehicle-related deaths in 2018 in total in British Columbia, a small increase over 2017, but under the decade’s average of 326 deaths.
That puts motorcycle fatalities at roughly 16 per cent of total driving deaths in 2018.
What does it mean?
The numbers from BC are sad, but it would be useful to know more context. What’s the average age of the motorcycle crash victim? While crashes have been up in some jurisdictions in recent years, and down in others, the most noticeable and consistent trend we’ve seen has been an increase in the average age of the crash victim. The report notes the age groupings of the entire range of crash victims, but doesn’t narrow in on the motorcycle segment.
For decades, motorcycle crashes were often blamed on young, inexperienced riders. However, many articles and studies in North America (for instance, this 2018 report from the Governors Highway Safety Association in the US) have noted a hike in the number of crash victims over the age of 40.
Other valuable information we’d like to see is the cause of the accidents. When Ontario saw its notable spike in motorcycle fatalities in 2017, the provincial police pointed out that 22 of the 48 fatal crashes on OPP-patrolled roads were caused by cagers, not motorcyclists.
One other piece of context: according to the coroners’ report, there were 58 pedestrian deaths in BC in 2018. While it would be silly and facetious to say it’s safer to ride to work than to walk, the fact remains that when you’re on the public roadways, there are no guarantees of safety, no matter how you’re getting from A to B.