Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: Safe riding insights from Cpl. Peter Somerville

Richmond

2024-05-21 08:00 PDT

This May, during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, Richmond RCMP is engaging the community with vital safety tips and personal insights from Corporal Peter Somerville of Richmond RCMP Road Safety Unit.

With over 31 years of service and extensive expertise as a certified RCMP motorcycle operator, Cpl. Somerville, who was instrumental in developing the Motorcycle Course Training Standard for the RCMP, shares key advice from his long-standing experience, both personally and professionally. He stresses the importance of defensive riding and proper preparation before every ride.

Corporal Peter Somerville of Richmond RCMP stopped on his motorcycle on a bright and sunny day

View larger image: Corporal Peter Somerville of Richmond RCMP stopped on his motorcycle on a bright and sunny day

Cpl. Somerville's Top Motorcycle Safety Tips:

  1. Always wear full, proper gear including gloves, eyewear, and an approved helmet.
  2. Be vigilant of the road ahead, and do not exceed your riding abilities.
  3. Regularly check your motorcycle’s condition before each ride.
  4. Take time to warm up. Practice maneuvers in safe areas and pay attention to your own alertness and mental state.

Corporal Peter Somerville pressure washing his RCMP motorcycle in a parking lot

View larger image: Corporal Peter Somerville pressure washing his RCMP motorcycle in a parking lot

Addressing common motorcyclist offenses, Cpl. Somerville warns against speeding and maneuvering down the shoulder of the roadway, especially during rush hours. Such actions dramatically increase the risk of accidents due to limited protection offered by motorcycles compared to cars.

Cpl. Somerville also shared a personal account of his own motorcycle accident, which underscores the unpredictable nature of motorcycle riding. "Three months after taking the motorcycle course, I had a close call when trying to pull over a vehicle. I decided to pass one more vehicle before making a sharp right turn; however, I was going too fast, and my bike hit a patch of sand, causing my rear brake to lock up, and my motorcycle skid into a streetlight, throwing me off. Thankfully, I was not seriously injured and could learn from the mistake. It was a stark reminder of the importance of adjusting speed to match road conditions and the value of always being prepared and aware."

Corporal Peter Somerville conducting a traffic stop on his motorcycle at the side of the road

View larger image: Corporal Peter Somerville conducting a traffic stop on his motorcycle at the side of the road

Highlighting the difference between personal and RCMP motorcycle operations, Cpl. Somerville notes, "The biggest difference for me personally is I can’t pull people over on my personal motorcycle. I ride very defensively; however, I am required to be confident in my ability to ride very assertively when necessary on the job. Assertive riding is physically and mentally demanding and can be very tiring. In contrast, an afternoon cruise on my personal bike is quite relaxing and enjoyable."

Corporal Peter Somerville on his motorcycle conducting a speed check facing the camera

View larger image: Corporal Peter Somerville on his motorcycle conducting a speed check facing the camera

In his closing remarks, Cpl. Somerville adds an essential piece of advice for all road users: "Don’t assume visibility. Just because you see them—whether a car, pedestrian, or cyclist—doesn’t mean they see you."

Richmond RCMP collaborates closely with ICBC and B.C. Highway Patrol to promote road safety. These efforts are part of a broader commitment to ensure the roads are safe for all users, particularly as warmer weather increases motorcycle traffic.

Richmond RCMP
11411 No 5 Road, Richmond, BC, V7A 4E8
Office: 604-207-5189
Fax: 604-207-4716

Email: richmond_media@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
Website: richmond.rcmp.ca

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