Aiming to raise awareness of motorcycle riders, especially at night, a Vancouver-based group of riders organized a Glow Ride event last weekend.
A diverse fleet of neon-glowing motorcyclists followed Benjamin Lin and Bria Yelland, the administrators of the .604 Motorcycles Facebook group who organized the ride, for a spin around the city. The group rode through East Vancouver, around the Vancouver Convention Centre and through Stanley Park.
The inspiration for the night ride came from several other glow-in-the-dark events that happened in Vancouver, including a bicycle rave and the Night Nation Run. For the motorcyclists, the driving force is greater visibility.
“One of the issues that we face as riders is that many of us have lost somebody or has a friend, somebody they know who rides motorcycles who has been seriously injured, which a lot of times is due to unawareness of car drivers,” Lin said.
According to the report “Crashes involving Motorcyclists, Injured and Killed Motorcyclists” made by ICBC during the period of 2009-2013, an average of 460 accidents happen at night time every year in BC, specifically from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. August is the second highest month with an average of 361 motorcycle crashes and 168 injured motorcyclists.
The study, however, does not attribute responsibility to riders, drivers, pedestrians or others for the numbers. Mistakes can happen.
“Of course there is rider error; we definitely make our share of mistakes. But a lot of times it is avoidable… We share the road with car drivers and we are smaller, they can´t see us that well at night. They can´t see us that well during the day either, as a matter of fact. This ride is for awareness, but at the same time it´s also a reminder to ourselves.
For Lin, who is also a car driver, a full shoulder check is the best ally to reduce risk of merging into a motorcycle.
“A lot of minor accidents happen like that [when drivers don´t shoulder check] in town. It´s when people merge into us. A little bit of awareness, yes. We might not glow every night, but we are there. Be aware,” Lin said.
The Glow Ride is also a chance to bring the Vancouver motorcycle community together and have fun among friends.
“Well, it’s a lot of fun to ride at night with your friends on glowing motorcycles, and I am hoping that, although some car drivers might not really understand what we are doing… maybe, at least, they will see us coming and that might help,” said Yelland.
Photos by Thomas Plywaczewski