What New Motorcycle Riders Need to Know
Beginning in the summer of 2020, motorcycle sales across the country began to skyrocket. Perhaps owing to the limited availability of communal recreational activities, first-time motorcycle riders all over the country heard the call of the open road.
Regionally, each province in the nation has experienced a noticeable upswing in motorcycle sales over the course of 2020. In fact, over the last year, depending on the type of bike, Canadian vendors have seen a year-over-year sales increase of between 31-59%.
Riding a motorcycle is an exhilarating experience, but it can be extremely dangerous. Operating a powerful vehicle like a motorcycle requires a high level of skill which can only be developed through years of experience. Now that more and more novice bikers in Ontario are purchasing motorcycles for the first time, many fear their lack of experience may be contributing to a frightening increase of serious motorcycle accidents across the province. In fact, in early summer 2020, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reported a 300% increase in fatal motorcycle accidents compared to the same time the previous year.
Safely operating a motorcycle requires focus, effort, and an abundance of caution. Even the most experienced, cautious riders are vulnerable to accidents caused by the negligence of other road users. Unlike passenger vehicles, motorcycles do not have built-in safety features for riders to rely on in the event of an emergency. This lack of safety features combined with high driving speeds makes motorcycle riders susceptible to collisions that can easily result in fatalities or severe injuries. Some injuries frequently sustained in motorcycle accidents include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Facial and dental injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- And more
If you have been injured in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, an Ontario motorcycle accident lawyer may be able to help you pursue financial compensation. To learn more about your eligibility to seek damages from the at-fault party, book a consultation with Preszler Injury Lawyers today.
If you are thinking about purchasing a motorcycle for the first time, it is important to be aware of the risks involved. Riding a motorcycle may be an exciting hobby, an escape from the mundane, and truly a way of life for many enthusiasts. Much of what makes motorcycle riding rewarding is what makes it dangerous. Appreciating the responsibility and the risks of operating a powerful machine like a motorcycle may encourage novice riders to adopt safe driving habits from the moment they take their bikes for a spin for the first time.
Getting a Motorcycle License in Ontario
In accordance with Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, anyone who wishes to ride a motorcycle in the province must be over the age of 16 and must obtain a motorcycle license. The province’s two-step, graduated licensing system gives new motorcycle riders the opportunity to gradually gain experience and develop their skills. It takes at least a year and a half to complete the two learning levels required for a fully graduated M-class license.
Those hoping to obtain a motorcycle license are also required to pass a vision test as well as a written examination about traffic signs, road rules, and motorcycle knowledge. After passing these tests, motorcyclists receive an M1 license.
With an M1 license, beginner bikers can ride a motorcycle, moped, motor-tricycle, or limited-speed motorcycle under the following conditions:
- Approved helmets must be worn at all times
- Blood alcohol level must be zero
- Driving is only permitted during daylight hours
- Driving is not permitted on roads with speed limits higher than 80 km/h
- Carrying passengers is not permitted
The M1 license is valid for 90 days. In order to progress to the next level of the graduated licensing system, after at least 60 days from the date they received their M1 license, motorcyclists must pass a road test. Once they have successfully passed their road test, motorcyclists receive their M2 license.
Motorcyclists with an M2 license are still not permitted to have a blood alcohol level higher than zero when operating their vehicles and must continue wearing approved helmets whenever riding their motorcycle. However, people with an M2 license are allowed to:
- Drive at night
- Drive on any public road
- Carry passengers (except on a moped, as per the restriction outlined in the Highway Traffic Act).
This level of the graduated licensing system lasts for at least 22 months. However, people who pass a ministry-approved motorcycle safety course will be permitted to take their final road test four months earlier than those who decide not to take the safety course. Drivers who successfully pass this second road test after waiting the mandated length of time can upgrade to full-class M license privileges.
Tips for Safe Motorcycle Riding
Although people must progress through two learning levels over the course of almost two years in order to obtain a fully graduated M license, riding a motorcycle comes with inherent risks. Even the most skilled rider can be involved in a collision with someone else on the road.
To reduce the risks of being involved in an accident, motorcycle riders in Ontario are encouraged to stay alert, make themselves as visible as possible, and be aware of potentially unsafe situations to avoid.
A recent report from the OPP revealed that distracted driving is the leading cause of death on the province’s roads. Riding a motorcycle, arguably, allows less room for distractions than operating a passenger vehicle. For example, it would be nearly impossible for a helmeted motorcyclist to eat food while operating their vehicle, whereas a negligent driver of a car might try snacking while the vehicle is in motion. However, that does not mean motorcyclists are immune to distractions on the road. It is, therefore, imperative that motorcycle riders stay focused when riding their bikes. Even at a red light, it is illegal for motorcyclists to check their phones, look at display screens unrelated to driving, or program their GPS systems.
Motorcycle accidents are often caused by a lack of visibility. That is why it is important for motorcyclists to try increasing their ability to be seen by other road users. By law, motorcycles must be outfitted with tail lights, as well as a headlight that must be turned on whenever the motorcycle is in use. Motorcycle riders may also consider putting reflective tape on their helmets and wearing brightly coloured gear to make themselves more visible to other drivers.
Other safety tips include:
- Always check your blind spot before changing lanes
- Do not drive within another vehicle’s blind spot
- Drop back behind or pull farther ahead of vehicles driving in your blind spot
- Use High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes on the highway
- Maintain a safe following distance behind the vehicle ahead of you
- Avoid following too closely behind large vehicles, like transport trucks
- Do not attempt passing a large vehicle if it is unsafe to do so
- And more
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
In the shocking moments immediately following a motorcycle accident, it can be difficult to know what to do next. Regardless of how serious the collision appears at first, it is important to call 911 immediately. Once dispatched to the crash scene, emergency services may suggest taking you to the hospital for emergency medical examinations.
Seeking immediate medical attention may be critical, even if you do not feel like you have sustained serious injuries. After a traumatic event like a motorcycle accident, a body in shock often produces adrenaline, which can diminish or delay the symptoms of a serious injury. That is why even if you do not feel as though you have been badly hurt, by seeking emergency medical care, you may be able to properly identify the severity of your injuries and avoid future complications in your recovery process.
If you have sustained serious injuries because of your accident, expenses related to medical care can begin piling up rapidly. When injuries prevent you from returning to the workplace, your ability to maintain financial stability may be significantly jeopardized.
Regardless of who was responsible for causing your accident, you may be eligible to recover statutory accident benefits. However, if your accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, with the assistance of an Ontario motorcycle accident lawyer, you may be able to recover additional compensation for damages you have incurred or will incur as a result of injuries you sustained in the accident. By filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver who caused your collision, a lawyer may be able to help you recover costs for the following damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ongoing medical care/in-home care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Adjusted living expenses
- And possibly more
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers Today
If you were injured in a motorcycle collision caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation for damages you incurred. To discuss the circumstances of the accident and learn if you are eligible to pursue damages, contact us today.
For a free, initial consultation, call Preszler Injury Lawyers today at 1-800-JUSTICE.