A very long winter has finally ended and sunny summer days are now finally here! With the change of seasons, motorcycle riders all over Ontario are dusting off their bikes and hitting the open road.
Whether you’re commuting or just riding for fun, it’s important that all motorcyclists have safety as a top priority. While cars and trucks offer a protected shell and safety features such as airbags, a motorcycle is much more exposed. And while that’s part of the joy of riding, it can also come with some risks if you’re not careful.
You also have to deal with other challenges including:
- Traveling on two wheels instead of four.
- Handling a vehicle that performs much differently than a typical car or truck.
- Navigating and staying visible with a much smaller profile that most other vehicles on the road.
The Importance of Motorcycle Safety
Riders and non-riders alike all seem to understand the importance of motorcycle safety. In fact, Kingston’s mayor Mark Gerretsen recently declared the month of May to be “Motorcycle Awareness and Safety Month” to help promote safe motorcycle riding in the city.
That same article in the Kingston Whig about the announcement quoted Sgt. Steve Saunders, a traffic safety officer with the Kingston Police that: “Since 2010 to 2013, there have been a total of 114 motorcycle collisions in Kingston resulting in one fatality. 62 non-fatal injuries and 50 property damage collisions.”
The goal of these campaigns, as well as programs such as the “Keep an Eye Out” campaign by Ottawa’s SOAR (Society of Ottawa Area Riders) is to reduce those numbers and ensure that motorcycle riders (and other drivers as well) are as safe and injury-free as possible when on the road.
Motorcycle Safety Tips Infographic
The entire team at Bergeron Clifford are strong advocates of motor vehicle safety. We collected a few tips from some great motorcycle groups and websites to help all riders stay injury and accident free. All motorcyclists, regardless of experience or environment should pay close attention to these to safely enjoy riding for many years to come!
These tips are also highlighted in the infographic below!
Be Mindful of Your Bike
Make sure that your motorcycle is right for you! Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you comfortable on it and able to reach all controls?
- Can you handle the power of the engine?
- Do you have Anti-lock brakes?
- Is your bike regularly maintained?
Practice, defensive driving, and communication are key to safe riding!
- Take a safety course and master the basics. Try advanced courses to learn emergency maneuvers.
- Try new techniques and driving in rough conditions in a controlled environment first.
- Always be aware of your situation & plan ahead. Keep a minimum following distance of 2 seconds.
- Don’t be afraid to use hand signals and your horn.
Dress for Safety
Wearing the right gear can truly save your life if you’re ever in an accident.
- Always wear a helmet. Fatal head injuries are 40% more likely in crashes without one.
- Wear leather, long sleeves, & padding. Protect your eyes & wear high-visibility clothing.
- Wear a rain suit in wet weather, and insulated gear in cold weather.
Follow the Rules of the Road
Ontario’s motorcycle laws are in place to protect you and everyone else on the road. It’s critical that you know these laws and always follow them to stay safe.
- All motorcycle riders in Ontario must be at least 16 years old and hold an M-class license.
- You must wear a helmet that’s CSA, DOT, BSI, or Snell approved.
- All traffic laws apply! And never drive while distracted or intoxicated.