Motorcycle accidents are alarmingly common in Ontario. According to the Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (ORSAR), 47 people died and 1,692 were injured in motorcycle crashes in 2010 in the province. More than 60 percent of those accidents involved another vehicle.
As a motorcyclist, you have little control over the actions of other drivers on the road. You can, however, take steps to lessen your chances of being involved in a serious or fatal accident.
Below are five tips to help avoid a motorcycle accident in Ontario.
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1. Be visible to other drivers
Many motorcycle accidents can be attributed to other drivers failing to see a motorcycle before changing lanes or making a turn. This problem is not limited to nighttime driving. In fact, according to ORSAR statistics, more than three-fourths of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2010 in Ontario occurred during the day.
Make sure other drivers see you by always using your headlight – even during the day. Position yourself to be seen and avoid riding in other vehicles’ blind spots or behind large semi-trucks. Opt for bright clothing instead of wearing all black and use your horn to alert drivers whose actions indicate they cannot see you (i.e., they are drifting into your lane, braking suddenly for no reason and so on).
2. Seek specialized training
ORSAR statistics show operator error (speeding, losing control and so on) can be cited in more than 70 percent of fatal crashes in 2010. Sufficient training may help reduce such mistakes. The Ministry of Transportation maintains an updated list of motorcycle safety course providers in the province, such as the Canadian Motorcycle Association and a variety of colleges.
3. Know your vehicle
Become familiar with the vehicle’s owner’s manual to gain an understanding of how best to operate the vehicle and maintain it in good working condition. Before each ride, assess things like tire pressure and condition, brakes, and oil and fuel levels. Also check that turn signals and headlamps are in good working order.
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4. Stay alert to potential hazards
Operating a motorcycle is a mentally and physically demanding task. Be constantly alert and anticipate any potential hazards, such as imperfections in the road surface (potholes, railroad tracks, debris), inclement weather and driver errors. Some of the most common hazards for motorcyclists include drivers who fail to yield the right of way and cars that turn left in front of an oncoming motorcycle. Keep this in mind when approaching all intersections.
5. Do not operate while under the influence
Alcohol consumption is dangerous for all drivers. At least 14 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2010 can be attributed to the driver operating with more than a 0.08 blood alcohol level. Also be alert to the effects of substances such as prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, such as cough and cold medicine.
Injured in a motorcycle accident by a negligent driver? You Have Legal Rights.
You have options for compensation if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence. We hope you won’t have to, but you can schedule a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer at the Preszler Law Firm in Ontario by calling 1-800-JUSTICE® or completing our online form.