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Road Safety for Motorcycles and Cars

By BlackGold in Blog, Road Safety

By: Christiaan Bijl


We often talk about road safety and how important it is to manage trips effectively. This includes adhering to regulations, planning your trip, and safe driving techniques when driving a motor vehicle necessary to ensure a company remains accident-free.


Unfortunately we do not pay much attention to the definition of what a motor vehicle is. It means any vehicle, equipment, tractor, trailer or semi-trailer propelled or drawn by mechanical power. This includes motorcycles.


There have already been a number of accidents in 2015 involving motorcycles, some with grave injuries, and others that have caused fatalities. Whether you are protected by 2,000-3,000 kilograms of metal and a seatbelt, or are relying on motorcycle riding gear and a helmet, all drivers are responsible for motorcycle safety.


Tips for motorcyclists

  1. Wear a helmet! If you do anything, wear a helmet. Eating through a straw or lying on a hospital bed with legs and arms in a cast or with a spinal cord injury is not my idea of fun.
  2. Wear the gear. If you’re riding a motorcycle, regardless of weather conditions, wear correct the gear. Your first instinct in a spill is to put out your hands; if you’re not wearing gloves, you’re going to get injured.
    Also, wear proper footwear. Sneakers and sandals are not proper riding gear; if you fall, or tip over your bike, sandals will only ensure your injuries are going to be more severe.


    Wear a proper jacket and pants, preferably made of leather or Kevlar material. Wearing shorts may make you think you look cool, but sliding down the road on your hip while wearing said shorts will give you road rash that looks like your leg has been through a meat grinder.

  1. Dress to be seen and protected. Wearing reflective clothing and bright colours helps other drivers to see you better, especially early in the morning and around dusk.
  2. Never use the front brake first. A motorcycle has two wheels. If you need to use the brakes to avoid debris, oncoming vehicles, or an animal, always use the REAR brakes. If you grab the front brake first, you’re going for a short flight, with an extremely hard landing. This is not a question, it is a fact. Brake first with your foot, not your hand.
  3. Look where you want to go. On a motorcycle, you go where you look. When you enter a sharp curve or corner, it is imperative that you turn your head and look through the turn to where you want to go. If not, you’ll go straight – off the road that is, or worse, into opposing traffic.
  4. Never come between a car and the off-ramp. Too often have I seen a car or truck veer across three lanes of traffic to take the off-ramp at the last second; usually without using its turn signal. When approaching off-ramps, it’s best to be in the left lane, or at least ensuring there are no vehicles to your left.
  5. Don’t drink! This should be simple; don’t drink and drive. Having consumed two beers while riding a motorcycle is far more dangerous, not only because alcohol slows your reaction time, but because riding requires you to make split-second decisions and reacting with confidence and precision. You can’t do that if you’ve been drinking.

Motorcyclists are more vulnerable than motor vehicles, but it is up to everyone to be motorcycle aware. I live for the ride, but I ride to live. So should everyone.


If you’re driving a vehicle – car or truck, here are some tips for you:

    1. Treat motorcycles like they are as big as other vehicles. Allow motorcycles plenty of lane space. They may not be as big as a car or pickup, but they are more affected by road debris, wind and passing vehicles.
    2. Double-check those blind spots. I ride a motorcycle, and I cannot tell you the number of times a car or truck has changed lanes and nearly caused an accident because they did not see me. If you’re driving a vehicle, use your turn signal and your rearview mirrors to ensure the way is clear before switching lanes. I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of using both.
    3. Back off! Stopping distances for cars and motorcycles are about equal. However, a motorcycle can stop quicker, albeit under less control. Give yourself space between your vehicle and the motorcycle. What may be an insignificant “fender bender” between two cars will be much more serious if a motorcycle is involved. Keep your distance!
    4. Be cautious when passing a motorcycle. Due to their smaller size, motorcycles can appear farther away than they actually are. They can also be hidden behind other larger vehicles. Ensure you have lots of space when passing a motorcycle and before pulling back into your lane.
    5. Change lanes for merging motorcycles. This is an important rule of the road for all vehicles merging onto the highway, but it is particularly important that you leave room for motorcyclists.
    6. Yield the right of way. If you’re turning into traffic, or in a turning lane, remember that opposing traffic has the right-of-way. This includes motorcycles. Look twice before turning; motorcylces are smaller and more difficult to see; especially at dawn or dusk.
    7. Drive defensively. Keep your eyes moving, continuously look in your mirrors and scan the road ahead so you can anticipate problems. Use the two-second rule on heavily traveled roads. Use your turn signals.

      Don’t tailgate, especially if you’re behind a motorcycle. Adapt to road conditions. If it’s raining, roads become much more dangerous for those on two wheels; give a motorcycle space.

Remember, as a driver, you are responsible for your actions; regardless of what type of vehicle you drive. At Black Gold Emergency Planners, we always want you to be safe, whether it’s at work or at play, safety should always be your priority.


For more information about bike safety, see the Rider’s Guide to Operation, Safety and Licensing Motorcycles, and Power- Assisted Bicycles here>>

Prepare your business for any emergency.
Fire, flood or even a pandemic.

Marlin Hovrisko
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Founder & President

Marlin Hovrisko is the founder and President of Black Gold Emergency Planners and BGGoPlan®. With more than 20 years of experience in emergency preparedness, oil and gas project management and business operations, Marlin has helped grow the company from a loft to a continent.

As Black Gold president, Marlin oversees the consulting business, while at the same time driving innovation and growth across all markets. Prior to founding Black Gold, Marlin worked with an industry leading, technology-focused consulting service.

Marlin has a BSc. from the University of Calgary. He is proud of the Black Gold family-like office atmosphere and attributes the company’s success to his committed, experienced, long-term project managers.

Outside of work, you can find Marlin watching his daughter ride her show jumping horse, attending ringette games or chasing walleye across North America.
Jason Swan
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Vice President

Jason is a passionate leader who ensures operational excellence in the company. He understands that preparedness and safety are integral elements of any successful business. His main motivation is to design meaningful programs to help people communicate and respond effectively in emergency situations.

Jason joined Black Gold Emergency Planners and BGGoPlan® in 2006 and manages employees, develops business goals and assists in the development of effective emergency response plans for a diverse group of clients.

Prior to joining Black Gold, Jason was the Environmental, Safety and Regulatory Manager at Samson Canada. He holds a BSc. from the University of Calgary, diploma in Chemical Engineering from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP).

Jason is a family man who is working with his wife to raise their children to appreciate the arts, history, science and the world around them.
Tammy Bonderenko
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Office Manager

Tammy Bonderenko has worked in office management for over 19 years and ensures the smooth day-to-day operation of the Black Gold office. Her responsibilities include office administration, finance, facilities management among many others.

Prior to joining Black Gold, Tammy worked in the oil and gas sector as office manager and field contract liaison in Cold Lake, Alberta for over 15 years.

In addition to spending time with her family, Tammy has been involved with the Cold Lake Youth Bowling Canada and was also the chairperson for 5-pin bowling for the 2010 Alberta Winter Games.  Tammy is an avid hockey and football fan and enjoys cheering for the hometown teams. Tammy loves pets and often tells stories about the antics of her dogs.
Chantale Reitenbach
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Operations Manager

A natural leader and strategist, Chantale Reitenbach is instrumental in developing and maintaining Emergency Response Plans for a wide range of clients. With over a decade of experience in the field, Chantale focuses on building practical programs that meet clients’ needs.

Chantale brings enthusiasm and resourcefulness to each of her projects in a continued effort to deliver value and improve efficiencies.

Prior to joining Black Gold Emergency Planners and BGGoPlan®, Chantale completed her BA in Psychology, followed by her BComm in Finance.

Over the last 25 years, Chantale has played women’s soccer at the national and provincial level and is also a competitive runner. She also coaches her two young daughters in soccer.
Darrin MacKay
Darrin MacKay
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Business Development Manager

Darrin brings over 22 years of oil & gas experience, with a primary focus on the drilling side of the industry. In this new role, he is looking forward to applying his skills and knowledge of the industry and business practices to continue the legacy of Black Gold and its commitment to excellent client service.

Darrin has his B.A. in Business Economics from Brown University, Providence, RI.
Chris Bijl
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Senior Emergency Response Planner

A seasoned leader with an esteemed military career, Chris Bijl brings close to three decades of experience to Black Gold as a Senior Emergency Response Planner. He is certified to the Incident Command System 300 level and constantly strives to increase his knowledge about the industry.

Chris has spent recent years working directly with clients in the upstream and midstream oil and gas industry. His 28 years of operational and administrative experience as a senior manager in the Canadian Forces includes two United Nations tours as a Military Observer. This specialized training and experience gives Chris a unique advantage. He applies these skills today by helping clients prepare, coordinate and execute responses to all types of operational emergencies and threats.

Chris holds a BA from Saint Francis Xavier University and a BSc. in Information Technology from DeVry University. 
Mandeep Dhesi
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Project Manager

Mandeep Dhesi is an accomplished, solutions focused professional offering extensive experience in emergency response planning.

He has over 6 years of experience in preparing emergency response plans and coordinating crisis management activities within the petroleum industry.

He has a proven background developing and maintaining liaisons with municipalities, county departments, and similar entities to facilitate plan development and response coordination.

As a senior emergency response planner/project manager, Mandeep delivers expertise in business management principals, strategic planning, leadership, and coordination of people and resources.

He has attended the Northern Institute of Technology (NAIT) majoring in Emergency Management, and is currently working towards obtaining his Associate Business Continuity Practitioner (ABCP) Designation. Mandeep has also received numerous certifications from the National Center for Disaster Preparedness and Response Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health.
Alecia Beauchamp
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Project Manager

Alecia Beauchamp has joined Black Gold as a Senior Emergency Response Planner and brings with her a wealth of knowledge including over a decade of experience specific to the development, implementation and management of Emergency Response Programs.

Prior to joining Black Gold, Alecia most recently worked as a Project Manager/Senior Emergency Response Planner. In addition to overseeing the development and updating of emergency response programs, Alecia’s responsibilities also included managing a variety of regulatory/compliance projects across western Canada. During this time, she participated in hundreds of emergency response planning exercises and real-life emergencies.

Alecia has completed the Principles of Health and Safety Management and Auditor Training Program. Alecia has also recently started working towards a certificate in Occupational Health and Safety through the University of New Brunswick and is eager to complete the course in 2017.

In the summer of 2016 Alecia and her husband welcomed their first child Olivia. When not at work, Alecia is enjoying her role as a mother and spending time with her friends and family including their two dogs Teddy and Paddington.
David Mitterhuber
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Senior Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Technician

David Mitterhuber joined Black Gold in 2004 as a GIS Technician. For the past 12 years, he has been instrumental in developing maps for drilling, facility and corporate emergency response programs.

As the Black Gold GIS lead, David reviews and coordinates all mapping activity, ensuring that mapping criteria are met according to regulatory guidelines. He also assists with the training and implementation of the Emergency Messaging Application (EMA) for resident notifications.

David holds a BSc. from the University of Calgary and a Marketing Diploma from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. David has recently completed the Project Management Extension Certificate at Mount Royal University.

For David, training does not end at work. During soccer season, you’ll find him busy volunteering or coaching his children’s soccer teams.
Philip Poole
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Training Manager

Having joined the Black Gold team in 2017, Philip Poole brings with him a blend of regulatory knowledge, audits and has an extensive background in conducting specialized training in emergency response and business continuity planning.

Clients have relied on Philips’ experience to provide them with guidance before, during and after incidents and emergencies have taken place. Philip has also proven himself to be a key asset in assisting clients during real emergencies and with post-incident reporting, on numerous occasions.

Prior to working for Black Gold, Philip worked for Deliotte LLP where he worked with some of the biggest oil & gas companies in the world. Philip has a willingness to share his knowledge gained from his experiences.

Philip has a British Army background that has been followed by 8+ years in the oil and gas sector, with experience in both operations, public consultations, emergency response planning training. He has added more than 10 years of emergency management and response experience though pervious employment and subsequent employment with Black Gold.

Outside of work, Philip enjoys spending time with his family, distance shooting (marksmanship), watching and playing both football and rugby.
Darcy Stratmoen
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Public Consultation Specialist

Darcy Stratmoen joined Black Gold in 2006 as a Public Consultation Specialist. His role involves doing public consultations across Western Canada for energy related industrial projects that include H2S gas and liquid natural gas (LNG) assets, rail facilities, and flaring operations. Other responsibilities include extensive field mapping duties, summarizing and daily reporting of resident issues to clients and compiling/recording field data into a secure relational database.

Darcy holds a Diploma in Land and Water Resource Management from Olds College and he is also trained in ICS 200. Darcy assists our Senior Training Consultant in the field during Major Training Exercises.

On his days off, Darcy looks forward to spending time with his young daughter. He is also passionate about outdoor recreation activities such as camping, hunting, and ATV’ing.
Shona Belvoir

Technology Manager

Shona Belvoir joined the BGGoPlan team in 2017, taking on the role of Technology Manager. She brings enthusiasm, positivity and passion to our application development team along with over 17 years of training and education experience.

Before BGGoPlan, Shona worked for an engineering firm where she focused on marketing and business development. She has worked in a variety of industries, each with a different realm of clientele which has provided her a well-rounded business outlook.

Within the BGGoPlan ERP mobile APP department, Shona conducts training and demo sessions for clients in addition to ensuring the installation and administration of the application technology. Her focus for the APP is technological development and improvement, and to ensure clients understand its functionality.

Shona attended the University of Calgary and earned her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Communications and Marketing.

Outside of work, Shona is very family focused, you can find her escorting her two children to their various sporting activities, volunteering and spending as much time with her kids as possible. She is very active, and enjoys walking her dog, running, skiing, playing tennis, swimming, and riding motorcycles.
Jenna-lee Natrasony
Jenna-lee Natrasony

Project Manager

As a Project Manager based in Grande Prairie, Jenna-lee’s focus is on managing all aspects of Emergency Response Programs including client management, development and facilitation of emergency response training and conducting public/stakeholder consultations. Jenna-lee successfully completed her AA in Sports Psychology followed by the completion of her BA in Applied Disaster & Emergency Studies. She is passionate about emergency preparedness and ensuring the safety of the communities in which we live and work.

Prior to joining Black Gold, Jenna-lee has spent the last decade gaining a wide variety of experience from the field to corporate level, including working with the National Energy Board and major producers. In her previous roles of Field Emergency Preparedness Advisor and Project Manager, Jenna-lee has worked closely in operations providing incident response support. She would also ensure accuracy in field mapping, stakeholder identification and comprehensive training conducting numerous exercises and training sessions annually.
Karen Mather
Karen Mather

Training Coordinator/Project Manager

Karen’s role at Black Gold includes Training Coordination and Project Management.

As Training Coordinator, Karen Mather specializes in regulatory compliance in Emergency Preparedness and Response. With 15+ years experience in emergency management, Karen brings a high level of expertise specific to development, implementation and management of emergency response programs. Karen’s focus is on regulatory guidance in emergency management and development and facilitation of exercises and training. She is an ICS Canada Incident Command System Approved Course Instructor for I-100 and I-200. Karen has been involved in coordinating hundreds of ERP training sessions from role specific training to major exercises and has provided ICS role-based support to real emergency events.

In her previous positions as Senior Emergency Response Specialist with major producers, Karen actively participated in and co-managed the development and maintenance of Emergency Response Plans and Emergency Preparedness Programs as well as coordination and facilitation of exercises and training.

Karen spent six years at the Alberta Energy Regulator with four in the Emergency Planning and Assessment Section. In her various positions, she provided support to the Public Hearing Process, municipal reciprocal land use set back reviews, ERP review and approval process and observation/evaluation of industry held exercises and training.

In her off time, Karen can be found leading fundraising activities for a non-profit organization in support of local charitable organizations focused on helping at risk children, seniors and veterans.
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Sr. Project Manager, Director of Strategy & Innovation


Emily Cuthbertson
Emily Cuthbertson

Office Manager

Emily Cuthbertson is new to the Office Manager position and is looking forward to being an integral part of the day-to-day operations of Black Gold. Her responsibilities include office administration, finance, facilities management among many others.

Prior to joining Black Gold, Emily worked in Safety and Regulatory Affairs at Canadian Pacific Railway, four years as an Emergency Response Technician in the in the oil patch and was the Executive Assistant for the Chief Administrative Officer, Mayor and Council for the Town of Fox Creek, Alberta. Emily has a certification in Human Resource Management through the University of Calgary, and looks forward to continuing her education to help better herself in her role at Black Gold.

When Emily is not in the office you can find her paddle boarding, snow-shoeing, hiking or on a road trip with her sister, spending time with her family and friends or taking the family dog, Tucker for runs at the dog park. Emily also enjoys giving back to Kids Cancer Care, a foundation near and dear to her heart.