Bikers ride to raise awareness about motorcycle safety

NANAIMO – More than 250 riders expected to participate in inaugural Motorcycle Memorial Ride.

The grumble of baffled chrome pipes and revving throttles will shatter the usual Sunday morning tranquility of Sands Funeral Chapel this weekend as those who have lost their lives while riding motorcycles are remembered by fellow riders.

In its inaugural Motorcycle Memorial Ride, an expected 250 riders will make their way from the funeral chapel to the Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens on Cedar Road where a memorial bench will be unveiled by B.C. Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon. Sarah Smith, community events coordinator with Sands, said all of the funeral directors and many of the staff ride motorcycles, and want to pay tribute to the increasing number of riders who lose their lives on B.C. roads every year.

“May is also Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in B.C. and we thought it would be good to do because we have so many rider connections in the community,” said Smith. “Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens wanted to participate by offering a small piece of property and a memorial bench for riders who have been killed.”

A charity barbecue will take place at the cemetery to help raise funds for the Kids Help Phone, which is also holding its annual walk on the same day.

“We thought if we could raise some money from our event and help out another cause then we should, and our company has taken on Kids Help Phone as a corporate sponsor,” added Smith.

The ride begins Sunday (May 5) at 11:30 a.m. with the bench unveiling scheduled for 1 p.m.

Riders interested in participating can register online at www.sandsfuneral.com or by phoning 250-753-2032.

According to provincial statistics, an average of 42 motorcyclists are killed every year in the province – 203 were killed between 2008 and 2012 – while another 2,200 are injured in crashes.

Speed, distracted riders and vehicles failing to see or yield to motorcyclists are the key reasons for rider death or injury. Motorcyclist fatalities increased 57 per cent from between 1996 and 2012. Last year, the province announced new safety regulations aimed at improving road safety and reducing motorcycle related deaths and injuries. Some of the new regulations included helmets that met minimum safety standards; larger font size on motorcycle plates for easier police detection; and a new rule that requires passengers, including children, to have feet firmly placed on foot pegs or floorboards.