The deaths of five people on Alberta highways over the past two weeks is alarming to motorcycle safety groups in the province. The head of a provincial motorcycle safety group is now cautioning drivers about making left hand turns into the paths of bike riders.
On Saturday May 5 at around 5 p.m., RCMP say the driver of a motorcycle crashed when he was trying to take a curve west of Calgary on Highway 1A near Morley Road. The 61-year-old rider died at the scene.
Also on Saturday, at 3:50 p.m., a truck was travelling east on Highway 590 east of Innisfail. RCMP say the driver was trying to turn left when the truck crashed into a motorcycle headed west on the highway. Both the 35-year-old male driver and the 34-year-old female passenger were pronounced dead at the scene.
A similar crash resulted in the deaths of two people on a motorbike on April 26 near Maskwacis, Alberta. A pick-up truck was headed north when it turned left and collided with a southbound motorcycle. The two people riding the motorbike were killed. The driver of the pickup truck died when he got out to help them and was struck by an SUV at the scene.
The Alberta Motorcycle Safety Society launched a safety campaign on Friday. One of the group’s messages is that four out of ten motorcycle crashes are a result of bad left turns.
Liane Langlois, the president of the Edmonton-based safety advocacy group, says left turns still remain among the top three issues in collisions with motorcycles versus vehicles.
“This happens because there is a signal in your brain that makes it so that you don’t see the smaller things on the road so you don’t necessarily see that motorcycle coming,” Langlois said on Sunday.
“It doesn’t register and then a vehicle will turn in front of the path of a rider and we lose in that situation nine times out of 10. We just ask people turning left to take that second look and be sure before you go, and for riders to really pay attention at intersections and only proceed when you feel safe.”
May is Motorcycle Safety Month in Alberta. The Alberta RCMP is launching a four month vehicle safety campaign to promote safety tips for motorbike and ATV riders, as well as educate and raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and impaired driving.
“Having five fatalities in the province of Alberta already is very concerning for us as a community. We need to be doing better than this, whether it’s rider error or driver error, we need to lower that statistic,” Langlois said.
Innisfail RCMP and RCMP collision analysts continue to investigate. All contributing factors relating to the crash are being considered.