SUDBURY -- Last year marked one of the worst riding seasons in more than 10 years, with 42 motorcyclists killed on roads patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police. In 2019, there were 27 fatalities.

On Sunday, a 44-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a crash on Maley Drive in Sudbury.

This comes as motorcycle safety month begins.

Every May, police and riding associations make efforts to educate drivers out on the road and also those on motorcycles about improving safety.

OPP collision investigators say excessive speed and failing to yield right-of-way were leading contributing factors to motorcycle deaths in 2020.

"A lot of these motorcycles do have a lot of high power and can gain excessive speeds faster than the operator can handle, many times," said Const. Robert Lewis, of the Nipissing West detachment.

Greater Sudbury police will be promoting motorcycle safety in May through education and enforcement. Officers are urging motorcyclists to ride safely and be seen.

"Obeying the speed limits, riding safely, excessive speeds and sudden lane changes, sudden stops things like that can make it very difficult for other drivers to perceive and react to a motorcycle. It also makes it very difficult for the rider to react to changing road conditions, such as debris or other traffic," said Const. Melissa Rancourt, of the Greater Sudbury Police Service.

With the warmer weather and more motorcycles on the road, police are reminding vehicle drivers to be diligent about double-checking blind spots.

"Motorcycles are much more difficult to observe because of their small size. So make sure you not only check the mirror but do that shoulder check and make sure there is not a motorcycle beside you," Rancourt said.

Police say the onus is also on the motorcycle operator to drive safe.

"Motorcycles should be driving in a fashion that they believe the other motorists do not observe them. Make themselves more visible, drive within the weather conditions and keep to your experience for the motorcycle that you are operating," Lewis said.

Police statistics show in 2020, 37 of the 42 fatal motorcycle crashes investigated by the OPP involved only one vehicle, and almost half involved riders aged 55-74.