May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a time for motorcycle riders and drivers to learn more about the risks for motorcycle crashes and how to stay safe.
The Ontario Provincial Police are telling bikers and drivers to keep an eye out for each other on the road.
Unfortunately, Ontario motorcycle crashes have increased in recent years. There were 44 motorcycle-related deaths last year, which is the most motorcycle accident deaths the province has seen since 2017. The West Region of the province was particularly dangerous, as 19 of the deaths happened there.
Riders and drivers share blame for motorcycle accidents. Drivers are not used to looking for motorcyclists and after a crash they often say they did not see the rider. This is why drivers need to do a better job looking for motorcycles, according to OPP Media Relations Coordinator Derek Rogers.
Drivers are being advised to drive defensively, pay attention to the road and not drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
On the other hand, motorcyclists need to ride with a defensive posture and wear bright clothing to make themselves more visible.
Older riders between 45 and 64 years old made up 51 per cent of those killed in motorcycle crashes in the last 10 years.
Rogers recommends that older riders getting back on their bikes after a long break take a training course. This is particularly important if the last time you rode a motorcycle was 20-30 years ago. A training course can help you improve your skills so you can protect yourself and reduce your risk of a crash.
You should be cautious on provincial highways, as 38 per cent of the OPP-investigated motorcycle deaths happened on these roads.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Riders
While there is no way to prevent all motorcycle crashes, riders can take numerous precautions to help lower their risk.
Develop Your Skills
Riding a motorcycle is a skill. It involves your hands and feet and takes a significant amount of coordination, particularly when you are traveling fast.
That is why it may be a good idea for inexperienced riders, or those who are just getting back into it, to take a training course. You can practice what you learn and over time, your control of your motorcycle should continue to improve.
Review Ontario motorcycle laws to make sure you know them and are following them out on the road.
Look Over Your Bike Before You Hit the Road
Mechanical issues on a car are dangerous, but drivers may be better able to avoid a crash from such an issue than a motorcycle rider.
Bikers need to be sure their motorcycle is in proper working condition and will react appropriately when they need to get away from danger. If your brakes are not working properly you need to get them fixed. If your tires are underinflated, you need to add air before hitting the road.
Make Yourself More Visible to Drivers
Wearing brightly colored clothing helps make you more visible to drivers, who often say they did not see the motorcycle they hit.
There are many other steps you can take to make yourself more visible to drivers. For example, if there is oncoming traffic on the other side of the road, move to the right of your lane so drivers in those cars will be better able to see you.
If you are coming up to an intersection, gently weave across your lane. This can help make you more visible to drivers.
Learn to Use Your Brakes Appropriately
For example, you should avoid hard braking after you have started to turn. This could cause you to veer into oncoming traffic.
You also need to be ready to react quickly in certain situations. If you need to stop quickly, roll down the throttle, as it will be much harder to stop if your bike is accelerating.
React to Danger, Do Not Panic
If you panic, you are more likely to get into a crash. For example, if there is debris, such as sand or gravel, make sure your line is straight. Do not make any sudden inputs, such as sudden changes in speed or sudden application of the brakes. If you panic and do too much at once, you are much more likely to lose control of the bike and crash.
Motorcycles will typically do one thing well, but it is not a good idea to try two or more things. Too much at once is a recipe for disaster.
Train Your Eyes
You need to use your eyes to anticipate what is coming so you can react appropriately. In a car, you can brake suddenly to avoid a crash and there is much less risk of an accident. However, you need to think ahead when riding a motorcycle. While all motorists need to pay attention, it is especially critical for motorcycle riders, as distraction can cause a motorcycle crash.
You also need to know how to react to danger, which comes from training and experience.
While there is a lot of attention on motorcycle safety this month, you should use these strategies every time you get on a motorcycle. Crashes can happen at any time and motorcycle riders are at high risk for suffering serious injuries.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Call Greg Monforton and Partners
If you were injured in a crash with a car, you may have a serious injury that is going to require significant treatment. Despite the seriousness of your injury, the insurance company may try to deny or underpay your claim.
That is why you should consider contacting an experienced Windsor motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you. Greg Monforton and Partners has an extensive history of helping crash victims recover compensation. Our legal services are provided at no upfront cost.
Schedule your free legal consultation. Call (866) 320-4770.