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Drivers warned to be patient with large crowds expected in Port Dover for Friday the 13th: OPP

Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts will likely take to highways and roadways
USED 2019-07-25goodmorningnorthbaybct  2 Antique motorcycles in Callander. Photo by Brenda Turl for BayToday.
Antique motorcycles

It's Friday the 13th with relaxed pandemic restrictions and Mother Nature dishing out some summer-like weather. 

Highways and roadways are expected to get busy with large crowds heading to Port Dover to celebrate the love of motorcycles.

Ontario Provincial Police are out with warnings to drivers to be careful.

"As a motorcycle rider myself, make sure you warm up your bike and then warm up your mind. You need to be very cognizant of the fact that you need to be prepared for anything that you may encounter on our roadways," said Acting Sergeant Ed Sanchuk.

Have your head on a swivel. But more importantly, let's just make sure we share the roadway with each other. Give enough time, room, and distance between our vehicles and motorcycles."

Sanchuk is asking drivers to check blind spots and to be careful as motorcycles do not offer the same protection as vehicles.

The OPP is warning motorcyclists that speeding and aggressive riding is dangerous.

"Unfortunately in the past, we've responded to collisions involving motorcyclists. Unfortunately, when motorcyclists are involved in collisions, they're serious, life-threatening, life-altering, life-ending injuries."

Sanchuk said there will be enough officers in Port Dover to respond to any calls for service or traffic issues that may arise.

He's also reminding motorcycle enthusiasts to plan ahead so people aren't getting behind the wheel after drinking.

Police will do roaming R.I.D.E. spot checks.

Airspace is closed for police aircraft, meaning drone or aerial shots of crowds and bikes will not be allowed.

Norfolk County has closed off some of the main streets in Port Dover as well.

"The most important thing is forging those relationships that have been forged in the past, making new relationships, good friendships. But more importantly, enjoying the festivities but getting home to your families," said Sanchuk.

Last year for Friday the 13th, up to 45,000 people were estimated to have gathered in Port Dover.

Before the pandemic, the town saw crowds of about 100,000 filling its streets.

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