Keep Safety In Mind To Avoid Motorcycle Accidents

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Spring has arrived and the arrival of warmer weather is a welcome sign for motorcycle enthusiasts who are ready to return to the road.
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Spring has arrived and the arrival of warmer weather is a welcome sign for motorcycle enthusiasts who are ready to return to the road.

For many, a motorcycle is more than merely a mode of economical transportation. It is a passion. Motorcycles offer diversity and not everyone rides for the same reason. There are bikes made for racing, off-roading and touring.

Riding provides an escape and studies have shown that getting on a motorcycle can improve your mood. People say they ride for the freedom, a sense of community, adventure, and camaraderie but mainly because it is fun.

Riding has also been credited with decreasing hormonal biomarkers of stress and enhancing adrenaline levels. Some say the mindfulness and focus needed to ride a bike makes them better drivers overall. Of course, there is also a rush that comes from setting off on a motorcycle.

More and more people are being drawn to the allure of riding, Statistics Canada states.

According to the most recent study, the number of motorcycles registered for on-road use grew 2.7 per cent from 729,687 in 2017 to 749,306 in 2020.

However, while motorcycles "are an increasingly popular form of transport, there is associated potential for injury and death for riders," StatsCan reports. According to Transport Canada, 242 motorcycle and moped riders (drivers and passengers) died in 2020, the highest number of deaths recorded in more than 20 years and a 24 per cent increase from 195 deaths in 2019.

It can be argued there is no such thing as a minor motorcycle accident. The injuries that result from even a small brush with an automobile can leave a motorcyclist with a multitude of injuries.

If you have been hurt due to someone else's negligence, our team of experienced lawyers can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Riding Comes With Risks.

While there are many advantages to riding a motorcycle, the biggest disadvantage is the inherent risk. Riding a motorcycle is much more physically and mentally demanding than driving an automobile. According to J.D. Power, an American data analytics, software, and consumer intelligence company, riders also face much more dire consequences than motor vehicle drivers in an accident. J.D. Power research found:

  • The chances of a fatality in a motorcycle accident are about 30 times higher than in a car.
  • Motorcycle accidents have an 80 per cent injury or death rate while car accidents remain at around 20 per cent.
  • Motorcycle riders over 40 are about 20 times more likely to be injured in the case of an accident than car drivers of the same age.
  • Even though motorcycles represent just three per cent of all registered vehicles, they account for more than five per cent of highway-related fatalities.

Automobile manufacturers have introduced advancements in recent years that have made vehicles much safer, reducing the number of deaths and injuries to drivers and passengers. However, motorcycle design has remained virtually unchanged when it comes to safety features.

J.D. Power states: "most fatalities or major accidents are not a result of faulty machinery or improper safety features" but "human carelessness and irresponsibility."

StatsCan notes there were an average of 180 motorcycle fatalities every year between 2016 and 2020, with three most common types of collisions representing more than half of all motorcycle fatalities. In 27 per cent, the rider was in a collision with a stationary object or was run off the road. Twenty-five per cent of fatal accidents occurred during a left-turn collision or right-angle collision (T-bone). Ten per cent of motorcycle fatalities occurred as a result of a head-on collision.

Riders commonly suffer injuries to their legs, knees and feet that can include broken bones, dislocations, sprains, cuts and contusions, research shows. More serious and life-threatening repercussions include head trauma or spinal injuries. Sliding across the pavement after falling from a motorcycle can result in a painful injury often referred to as road rash. These injuries can cause permanent damage.

Safety First.

Pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists are considered to be vulnerable road users since they do not have the protection provided by an automobile such as seat belts and airbags.

Safety should always be your primary concern when you climb onto your bike. Experience is a great teacher but to further improve your skills, you may want to consider taking a certified training course. Courses approved by the Ontario government can provide valuable information and allow you to take your road test sooner.

You need to account for other road users and learn to safely navigate through traffic that can include impaired, inattentive, aggressive or distracted drivers. A heightened sense of concentration is essential since it is not only motorists who can pose a hazard. You need to be aware of changing road surfaces as well as animals or objects that can suddenly appear in your path.

Consider choosing safety over fashion when you ride. This means leathers or reinforced jackets, pants and boots. You should also wear bright colours or reflective material. Wear an approved helmet with eye protection and the chin strap securely fastened.

You should maintain your motorcycle to avoid mechanical issues and inspect it before setting out. It is recommended that you check the forecast to avoid wet or icy conditions.

Be sure you are visible in traffic and never ride in a vehicle's blind spot. Also, avoid distractions. Taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can have life-long consequences.

The City of Toronto offers the following tips:

  • Never ride after consuming alcohol or drugs.
  • Assume other people driving don't see you.
  • Maintain 360-degree awareness.
  • Leave a space cushion all around.
  • Enter intersections and curves with caution.
  • Practice emergency braking and swerving through an approved refresher training course.
  • Save stunt riding for the race track.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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