Driving a motorcycle requires knowing how your vehicle will react, maintaining full concentration, and exercising caution to ensure you are in control and everyone remain safe. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association in 2017, shows motorcyclists, mopeds, motor scooters and motorized bicycles account for 10% of motor vehicles deaths in the province even though they only make up 2% of all vehicles on the road. The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – Canada’s largest trauma centre – and the University of Toronto indicate that motorcycle crashes incur 6 times the amount of health care costs incurred compared to car crashes and result in more severe injuries – some resulting in death.
Motorcycle safety is an utmost concern to all vehicle operators. Unlike some of the U.S., Ontario has a mandated helmet legislation. All operators and riders of motorcycles in Ontario are required to wear a helmet when on a motorcycle. The helmet must have a smooth, out shell, lined with protective padding and a chin strap that securely fastens, and must not be damaged due to prior use. Additional legislative requirements include having two lighted lamps (R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 62 (2)), having front and rear break-systems if traveling on the highway (R.S.O. 2009, c. 5, s. 29 (1)), having motorcycle handlebars set at no more than 380 millimeters above the top of the bike’s seat when compressed by a driver sitting in it, and carrying a passenger only when the passenger is in a side car designed for carrying passengers or in a seat behind the operator that is securely fastened to the motorcycle and has foot rests for the passenger, as required by R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 596, s.10(2).
Knowing your vehicle is imperative – skillful use of your motorcycle controls can help avoid or mitigate catastrophic injuries. ‘Handlebar steering’ is used at speeds below approximately 25km/h. Moderate to high steering often requires a technique called ‘push and counter steering’ – used at speeds above 25km/h, this technique involves pushing forward on the handlebar on the side of the motorcycle you want to turn to, while the motorcycle leans to that side and turns in the intended direction. Push force depends on the speed and it’s often initiated subconsciously by the skilled operator. Braking may require both front brake activation (front brake lever) and rear brake activation (rear brake pedal). Personal data recorders may be of high significance once an accident has occurred. Data recording is dependent on the device and key factors range from vehicle speed, engine speed, gear position, and throttle position, to GPS position data.
Another key habit is always being aware of road conditions. Watching for hazards like potholes, manhole covers, oil slicks, puddles, debris, railroad tracks and gravel may also help prevent or mitigate a potential accident. Be courteous – do not weave in and out of lanes, or ride on the shoulders or between lanes. Remember to always wear bright and reflective clothing that is durable and boots that cover your ankles. Wear goggles, glasses or use a ventilated face shield to prevent fogging, especially at night. It important to be alert and aware of your surroundings as other vehicles often violate the motorcyclists’ right of way – many car or truck drivers do not anticipate motorcycles’ movements due to lack of blind spot checks or obstructed view.
Motorcyclists can prevent or mitigate risks by wearing proper gear, abiding by speed limit regulations, and by skillfully operating their vehicle. However, we recognize that accidents. Are not always preventable and our team of lawyers at Avanessy Giordano LLP are here to help defend motorcyclists’ legal rights and wholeheartedly commit to deliver the compensation motorcyclists are entitled to after an accident or the loss of a loved one.
Contact Avanessy Giordano LLP today to learn more about how we can help if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident.