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Motorcyclist had an adventurous spirit: father

Matheus Fredrich died in a collision on Highway 99 on Aug. 9
The 24-year-old Maple Ridge man who died in a motorcycle crash in Lions Bay last week is being remembered as an outgoing, adventurous person, who was the glue that kept his friends together.

These were some of the words Kevin Fredrich used to describe his son Matheus, who lost his life in the collision on the evening of Aug. 9.

“He was the kind of person everyone liked, quite literally,” said Fredrich.

“He brought a smile to everyone’s face. Super outgoing, fun-loving, adventurous...I couldn’t be prouder as a father, to be honest.”

Matheus worked as the operations manager for a company called HNT Tools, and his aspirations were to work his way up to a top position.

“He was, you know, the glue that kept his friends together,” said Fredrich. “He was just that kind of person that everyone gravitated toward. He made you feel happy.”

He treated friends not just as friends, but as extended family.

One fond memory Fredrich recalled was giving his son the chance to spend his Grade 12 year sailing around the world on a tall ship.

On that voyage, Matheus was able to visit dozens of countries. Whether it was hiking up volcanoes in Colombia or visiting historic sites in Belgium, the experience suited his son’s adventurous spirit to a tee.

Fredrich said Matheus wasn’t one to stay inside.

He liked getting out in the woods and camping, having bonfires, and spending time with friends and family.

Fredrich said that when he was younger, he used to ride dirt bikes, and Matheus would come out with him.

When Matheus grew older, he decided he’d get a street bike.

“He loved riding,” said Fredrich. “And I can’t blame him — I love riding too, but I will never be on two wheels on the road again, myself, after this.”

On the day of the collision, Fredrich said his son had a rare day off, and was enjoying a ride through the Sea to Sky Highway with his friend.

“Whether you’re on a car or a bike, just don’t be distracted,” said Fredrich. “Be really mindful of the people around you. To any young person out there that wants to get a bike, just be trained. Have the right gear. Just be safe.”

RCMP are investigating the crash and are asking the public for information on the matter.

On Aug. 10, officers announced that they were looking for anyone who may have filmed the crash.

In particular, police were interested in finding the driver of a grey Toyota sedan and another motorcyclist in the area who might have seen what happened.

“We feel for friends, family, and responders who helped to try and save the rider, making our appeal more important for anyone with information to contact police so we can piece together what happened,” said Cpl. Angela Kermer of the Squamish RCMP in a news release at the time.

Safety tips

Though not familiar with this particular crash, Brian Antonio, the school director for ProRIDE Motorcycle Training, told The Chief that there are generally two types of collisions — those involving another motorist, and those involving the rider.

For the former category, some of the most common sources of crashes happen at intersections when a vehicle is turning left.

“Cars turning left tend to be a bit of a hazard for motorcyclists. There’s a lot we can do to mitigate that risk but, despite that, that’s one that motorcyclists are always looking out for.”

A common cause for the latter happens when riders let their guard down.

“For many riders, motorcycling is a secondary vehicle, it’s a recreational vehicle; we like to get on the bikes to have fun and sometimes when we’re out there having fun, we’re not always out there making the best decisions,” said Antonio.

Regarding the Sea to Sky Highway, in particular, Antonio notes that there are many blind curves.

“A lot of motorcyclists — we really enjoy the feel of taking a motorcycle through some twists and turns and curves, and, of course, many of us are able to do it safely, but you might find either some inexperienced motorcyclists — or ones who are so experienced and have done it so many times that they’ve let their guard down — you come around the curve and the next thing you know, it’s a blind curve or a corner. There was nothing there the 20 times before or 100 times before, and suddenly now there’s something there that you didn’t see.”

The Sea to Sky Highway is popular among many riders, Antonio said, and some of them tend to take race-track style riding on the highway, which is unfortunate.

The biggest way to mitigate risk is to ride at an appropriate speed, he said.

Sometimes, that’s the speed limit. Other times it may not be, said Antonio. If you’re coming down a blind corner, you may have to be at a slower speed to stop suddenly for a hazard that you can’t see in the distance.

It’s crucial to be conscious of the hazards that you don’t see, he said.

Non-motorcyclists can help by recognizing motorcyclists need more space, as riders are more vulnerable in a crash.

Antonio noted that he’s seen many cases of vehicles tailgating motorcyclists and vice-versa.

“Be gradual and progressive with your speed adjustments,” he added.

Another good preventative measure is training, Antonio said.

Finding a proper professional trainer can go a long way.

He added that bike dealers often partner with schools to offer discount rates, so asking a local dealer can help for those on a budget.

According to figures from the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit, 13.2% of motorcycle hospitalizations occur in the Vancouver Coastal Health area.

The Fraser Health region has the highest motorcycle hospitalization rates in B.C. at 29.6%, and the runner-up is Interior Health at 23.2%.

The research unit said that speed; inattentive drivers; human error; wild animals; following too closely and improper turning are among the main contributors to bike collisions.

Fatalities and hospitalizations occur most often among people aged 50 to 59 years old, roughly a quarter of all cases.

Older riders are more susceptible because they are more likely to use higher-powered motorcycles; may have less experience either as new or returning riders; and are most likely to have experienced physical and cognitive declines, while not being aware of them, the research unit said.

Crashes are most likely to occur in the summer months.

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