Alberta briefs – July 28

A new government report released Monday says the rate of fatal collisions in Alberta involving motorcycles rose in 2008 and suggests motorcycle riders are also more likely than any other driver to have consumed alcohol before the crash.

Bike fatals rising: report

EDMONTON — A new government report released Monday says the rate of fatal collisions in Alberta involving motorcycles rose in 2008 and suggests motorcycle riders are also more likely than any other driver to have consumed alcohol before the crash.

The report said or every 10,000 registered motorcycles on the road in Alberta, 4.4 of them were involved in fatal collisions last year, compared to four in 2007, 4.2 in 2006 and 3.4 in 2005.

Some level of alcohol consumption was seen in 7.9 per cent of cases, suggests the government’s 2008 traffic collision statistics.

The report said the number of people injured or killed in collisions that involve motorcycles has risen steadily over the years.

In 2004, 25 people were killed and 715 injured in such crashes. In 2008, 42 people died and 852 were injured.

Still, the provincial numbers suggest the rate of motorcycles involved in non-fatal injury collisions has fallen, from 90.5 of every 10,000 registered motorcycles in 2007 to 82.4 in 2008.

There have been three fatalities this year in Edmonton and most involved riders going too fast on sport-type motorcycles, said Staff Sgt. Barry Maron, head of the Traffic Section of the Edmonton Police Service.

Calgary-area woman dies of H1N1

CALGARY — Alberta has recorded its fifth death linked to the H1N1 flu.

Alberta Health says the latest person to die is a woman from the Calgary area who had underlying medical conditions.

Dr. Gerry Predy, the province’s senior officer of medical health, says the victim was admitted to hospital in early July and died about three weeks later.

It’s the second H1N1 related death in the region.

The latest death brings to 57 the number of people across Canada who have died from the H1N1 virus.

Man admits to weapons offences

LETHBRIDGE — A 44-year-old man has received a short jail sentence for a threat against a high school student that prompted a lockdown of several southern Alberta schools last fall.

Stanley Peter Rajcic appeared in provincial court in Lethbridge and pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon dangerous to the public. He was charged after a confrontation last September at Catholic Central High School.

A student said Rajcic called him to his truck outside the school, accused him of harassing his son, pointed to a metal pipe and a knife and threatened the 15-year-old boy.

Police and school authorities were notified, and seven city schools were locked down for a short time.

Rajcic has been sentenced to 15 days in jail and is banned from possessing any weapons for five years.

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