Preventing motorcycle collisions through teaching
Calgary has experienced numerous motorcycle collisions in the first half of 2014, including three fatalities and 67 collisions involving injuries, according to the Calgary Police Service.
In 2013, there were three motorcycle fatalities and nine in 2012.
In August 2013, Calgary's riding community lost a friend. John Ross MacRae died at the age of 24 in a crash during a race in Quebec. Trevor Dech, the chief instructor and owner of Too Cool Motorcycle School, knew MacRae since he was a baby and has dedicated this year's Ride to Remember to MacRae.
The ride departs from McMahon Stadium at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, and ends at Motorrad Performance in Turner Valley, Alta. Registration is available through the Ride to Remember website and there is a $23 fee.
This year, all the monies raised from the Ride to Remember will go towards the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation.
Dech has been teaching rider safety since 1991, and along with the other instructors, dedicates most of his time promoting safe riding practices.
"Safety to me is about being aware of your surroundings and understanding that people make a lot of mistakes out there," Dech says. "And as a rider and a driver, and even someone walking, you don't want to make that first critical mistake that could lead into what police call 'collisions.'"
The instructors at Too Cool want to emphasize safety in order to avoid accidents and focus on responsible riding.
Dech says that with collisions, "it's not about if it happens, it's about when it happens."
He stresses the importance of knowing and exercising basic shoulder checks and necessary emergency maneuvers to deal with all riding scenarios.
Rene Despins, a senior instructor at Too Cool, took riding courses through the school in 1996 and has now been instructing there for the past seven years. He enjoys the opportunity to help develop the next riding generation and hopes to spark further interest in the activity.
"Certainly for me, it's full circle coming back here to be able to participate and give back to the riding community through coaching," Despins says.
Attitude on and off the road is what safe riding is all about, according to Despins. He also encourages wearing proper gear.
Dech compares the riding community in Calgary to a small family and encourages all drivers to think of others while on the road.
Dech says there's a ripple effect that comes with deaths related to riding. "It's devastating for the community and it's devastating for the families."
- By ALLISON BADGER