Motorcycle safety awareness event kicks off at Humber College

Motorcyles were displayed outside Learning Resource Commons at Humber North campus. (Sukh Toor)

Sukh Toor

Humber North held its first Motorcycle Awareness and Safety Day on Thursday.

Officers and school instructors gathered in the Learning Resource Commons at Humber’s North campus to host a Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Media Day on Thursday, an event they hope will show motorcyclists, young and old, that caution never goes out of style.

The event was sparsely attended save for a few members of the media who had gathered to cover it.

Andy Hertel, program manager of Humber’s motorcycle rider training, joined with Toronto Police offering rider training program for students.

They were given verbal instructions, demonstrations and then a chance to ride. The program sets out to create better motorcycle riders for safer roads, said Hertel.

The program first came to Humber College in 1982 when it started with about 128 students

The school wanted to make a positive impact on the roads for everyone on the road, said Hertel. At its peak the program had more 4,000 students.

Safety and awareness applies to everyone on the road.

“Many of our students come back and say this [rider training program] has made me a better automobile driver because of awareness,” Hertel said.

Superintendent Gordon Jones of Toronto Police was one of many to speak on rider safety during the spring and summer season.

“With the start of the riding season, comes an increase of the number of sirens you hear and collisions you see,” said Jones.

Since 1995, there has been an increase in motorcycle related fatalities, and these incidents affect automobile drivers, bicycle riders and pedestrians. Over the last 20 years, Toronto has seen over 50 motorcycle related deaths.

“The big myth is that it’s the 18-19 year olds that are dying, (but) it’s just not. It’s the 29 to 39, 40 age groups that are seeing the most number of fatalities,” said Constable Clint Stibbe, Toronto Police Traffic Services media officer.

Riders should always assess their riding ability before getting onto the motorcycle, said Superintendent Jones.

Myron Kuepfer, general manager of Riders Plus Insurance, said safety is beyond insurance and more about awareness of the road.

Thinking practically and receiving the proper training to operate a motorcycle is the best way to bring down insurance costs, he said.

Jenelle Higo, a Toronto Police traffic officer, said events on road safety are important to her and other fellow riders.

Wearing proper gear and driving a vehicle that is in good working condition are great ways to be safe, she said. A rider should always give themselves lots of room and time when on the road.

Hertel said assessing his personal limitations before getting on the road has kept him safe during 30 years of riding.

“Don’t get sucked into trying to mimic someone else,” he said.

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