Safety stressed at Edmonton motorcycle event: ‘Wear your gear and make sure you’re prepared’

Colin Leigh-Sepncer, 29, was in a serious motorcycle collision in April 2016. On May 5, 2019, he spoke about it at the Alberta Motorcycle Safety Society's annual safety campaign launch in Edmonton. Global News

It’s springtime in Alberta, which means motorcyclists are back on the roads and at one event in Edmonton Sunday, safety was top of mind.

The Alberta Motorcycle Safety Society held its annual bike safety and awareness campaign launch to coincide with motorcycle awareness month.

Colin Leigh-Spencer rides a motorcycle and was one of the speakers at the event. The 29-year-old talked about a crash he was in three years ago, and said if he hadn’t been wearing proper safety gear, he likely wouldn’t be where he is today.

On April 1, 2016, Leigh-Spencer said he was out for an afternoon ride with his brother-in-law when a vehicle pulled out in front of them. He said he hit the vehicle’s rear and was thrown from his bike.

“According to witness statements, I went about 30-35 feet up in the air. I did about six front flips, landed on my back and bounced up and landed on the median connecting the two roads on Baseline,” he recalled.

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“My right arm was out and wrapped backwards around me and the gas tank had broke my pelvis in four places and pulled my hips apart. I had to relearn how to walk. I was in a wheelchair for 10 weeks.”

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Between June 2016 and August 2017, Leigh-Spencer said he went through 96 physiotherapy sessions, learning how to walk again.

“I basically had to retrain my muscle memory on how to walk properly because when you snap all your ligaments, it erases your muscle memory essentially.”

Leigh-Spencer was wearing an impact spine protector vest and a good helmet at the time. He credits the equipment for his survival.

“Because of the gear that I was wearing, I didn’t break my back. I didn’t have any brain aneurysms or really serious brain injuries. I had a really bad concussion and still have some memory issues from that, but it could have been a lot worse,” he said.

“You got to think about what’s going to happen if you hit the ground because it’s not fun and it doesn’t feel good at all. You don’t fare well from it. There’s not a lot of people that go through accidents like the one I went through [who] can physically talk about it.”
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WATCH BELOW: Motorcycle season is revving into high gear. Gord Steinke sits down with Mark Dobbelsteyn, an instructor with the Alberta Safety Council, for some tips and reminders for bikers and drivers.

Click to play video: 'Safety tips for bikers and drivers as motorcycle season revs up'
Safety tips for bikers and drivers as motorcycle season revs up

Liane Langlois, president of the AMSS, said everyone — including motorcyclists — needs to look out for each other on the roads.

“For drivers, we just want to make sure that they’re paying attention to what they’re doing and look before changing lanes — use your mirrors, shoulder check, put down phones — things like that. We’re coming back, we’re smaller vehicles, we’re hard to see,” she said.

“For riders, it’s take it easy as we ease back into the season and obey the rules of the road. Wear your gear and make sure you’re prepared in case of any type of emergency situation.”

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Deadly motorcycle crashes

The warning comes after what’s already been a deadly spring for motorcyclists on Edmonton streets.

A 31-year-old man was killed in March after a motorcycle crash on the west leg of the Anthony Henday Drive, just south of Lessard Road. Edmonton police said a Dodge Journey was heading south on the Henday past 62 Avenue when it suddenly slowed down. It was reportedly straddling two lanes when it was hit on the rear passenger side by a motorcycle also travelling in the right lane.

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The 31-year-old rider of the motorcycle was taken to hospital where he died of his injuries. The victim was identified as Marcel Murray.

The driver of the SUV and two other motorcyclists were charged in relation to the crash.

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In late April, a 28-year-old woman who was the passenger on a motorcycle died in hospital one day after a collision on Anthony Henday Drive in the west end. Police said a motorcycle carrying two women was rear-ended by a cargo van.

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The victim was identified as Samantha Parish. She was on the motorcycle with her mother at the time, according to Babes on Bikes founder Tammy Kidd.

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