Project Traffic Tragedies: From the Nanaimo Daily News

"In 2007 motorcyclist fatalities skyrocketed 300% to a dozen deaths on Vancouver Island. (BDB's comment: Do the math from 4 to 12 deaths)

Using (undisclosed) unconventional surveillance methods and "wave-overs," police targeted problematic areas throughout the Island and stopped hundreds of motorcyclists after Project Traffic Tragedies launched in May.

Charges were laid for everything from defective motorcycle equipment to drunk riders.
The program, run by RCMP Island District Traffic Services in partnership with the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, also featured an extensive summer-long media campaign, visits to driving schools, dealerships and community groups and offered free rider skill sessions Island-wide. It wrapped in September.
Motorcycle deaths this year were down 58% to five."
So what are these "Unconventional" Methods of surveillance?
The RCMP won't say much except that they can use cameras and binoculars and all sorts of things to target problematic riders. "

I find the use of statistics in this article interesting up 300% down 58% - we are talking 4 deaths in 2006 up to twelve in 2007 and down to 5 in 2008....One is too many in my opinion but lets keep perspective here.

I am all for the preventing of fatalities through education, but it appears again that the police services are using whatever they can for excuses and reasons to stop motorcycles. Its a career and budget building tactic that is used by them often. At least this time they have some education involved and not just a straight targeting of motorcyclists.

The surveillance thing I guess is what bothers me. Again, our community like all others is inhabited by people, and all it takes is a few bad apples - right.

You see inconsiderate and unsafe riders exist every bit as much as inconsiderate and unsafe drivers.... the "Cowboys and girls" of our community have made it so the RCMP have singled us out again for special attention over and above that of larger community of road way users.

Just like the RCMP who are undergoing some pretty intense scrutiny right now because of the conduct of three officers - our community is undergoing intense scrutiny and will continue to by the looks of it as whatever they are doing on Vancouver Island has caught the attention of other detachments and is spreading for 2009.

To all of those who ride like show offs and jerks - thanks! What a wonderful pre-Christmas present that is - now next year when we go riding we all get to have an extra special once over every time an officer is around so he can save us from ourselves.

Policing VS Education

I wonder what the actual cost of education for riders vs the extra police it takes to conduct surveillance on us...

If one hour of an officer with a squad car costs us approximately $85 per hour (That's what I was charged in Olds a year ago) and with out a car costs approximately $50 dollars per hour the cost for two officers in one car the cost would be $135/hour.

Now there is planning time, administration and execution, then more administration and if a town had 6 officers with 3 cars - involved in a 5 hour street project in a weekend and they spent 5 hours on preparation, admin, debriefing - the cost per town per weekend would be 3 teams x $135 dollars per hour for 5 hours and 3 teams at $100 per hour for 5 hous admin time.

That equals $ 3525 for 5 hours of street and 5 hours of office time for 6 officers and 3 cars in one weekend in one community. At an average cost of $250 for rider training that would pay for the training of 14 riders. I'm not talking about "sessions" of one or two hours - I am talking full blown training.

Below is my If List - a dream or wish list:

If rider education was mandatory and affordable then perhaps we'd see a hell of a lot less accidents, injuries and deaths in our community.

If our roadways were in good shape and didn't hold so many dangers like cracks, pot holes, frost heaves and debris coming off the back of vehicles....

If our roadways were clear of gravel and sand...

If our roadways were free of impatient, wreck less and inattentive drivers and riders...

If our roadways were free of show offs or drunks no matter the vehicle they command...

If people showed each other more consideration...'s a nice dream that will Never come true....because people are the wild card.

So what could be done differently to prevent accidents, injury and deaths?

Let's get some ideas on the table....
I am all for training and education and think that is the best way to address the problem, but that's just me. What ideas do you have to offer on this subject? Talk to me - let's get a concrete action plan for accident and injury prevention.

I'm all for finding concrete ways to reduce the number of accidents and deaths in our community.

Maybe if we put together a thoughtful action plan we could make a positive difference....

Now for some personal news. Hubby and I escaped for an hour yesterday and went for a little 30 - 40 km burn out to Sexsmith on the bikes. It was pretty brisk - 5 degrees but oh it felt good. Anyday a rider can ride in Northern Alberta in NOVEMBER - that's a damned fine day!

If you are lucky enough to still be riding - PLEASE, ride like they are out to get you.

Belt Drive Betty

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