When it comes to motorcyclists, it’s a David v. Goliath world out there

When it comes to professional fighting, fighters in the ring are separated by weight class, which only seems fair. Yet, when it comes to Ontario’s roads, there’s no such separation between vehicles.  Unfortunately, for motorcyclists in particular, this poses inherent risk when sharing road space with other vehicles ranging from cars to 18-wheelers. 

For motorcyclists, it really is like David versus Goliath out there!

As the 2018 motorcycle season finally closes in on the fall homestretch, the thrills and exhilarations of riding season so far have left behind a trail of tragedy, which has been a trend in recent years. It is a sobering reality of the risks motorcyclists face on Ontario roads.

Between 2005 and 2014, the OPP conducted a study, which found over 3500 road fatalities. Of these, 279 involved motorcycle rider deaths. In 74 of these motorcycle fatalities the victims were found to have done “nothing wrong”.

This is a sad reminder that even prudent motorcyclists are at the mercy of other road users, which includes vehicles ranging from sedans to SUV’s to 18-wheelers.

The number of motorcycle fatalities reported by the OPP has been steadily climbing over the last several years with 2017 reaching a record high of 48.

A medical study  published by Dr. Daniel Pincus and Dr. David Wasserstein in the Canadian Medical Journal compared the public costs of motorcycle injuries to automobile injuries between 2007 and 2013. The study concluded that injured motorcyclists cost the public healthcare system 6 times more than injured motorists.  The study also found that the rate and severity of injury was higher amongst motorcyclists.

While the risks of riding motorcycles are well known and preventable, sadly, the margin for error at such high speeds and little protection leaves motorcycle riders vulnerable.

Increased vigilance amongst all users of the road can greatly enhance safety for everyone. However, motorcyclists especially must be proactive and take extra precautions to avoid serious injury or death.

While there are numerous causes of motorcycle accidents, there are a numbers of suggestions motorcyclists and their passengers should consider before getting on a bike. These include:

  1. Always wearing a helmet
  2. Wear visible clothing and proper protective gear and be seen
  3. Drive defensively, and maintain space as well as anticipate actions of others
  4. Avoid riding in poor weather
  5. Make sure your bike is properly maintained
  6. Follow rules of the road
  7. Never ride when tired and give yourself a break when needed

While there will always continue to be inherent risks in riding motorcycles, riders can reduce their chances of injury or harm by being mindful of their surroundings and remembering that seeking out that thrill of being on the open road is a privilege that comes with taking personal ownership of each ride.

Lawson Hennick
Written by

Lawson is the creator of LawBubble.com, an online blog exploring legal issues, trends, and developments.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from York University, and then attended University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law graduating with a Bachelor of Laws degree in 2009 before being called to the Ontario Bar in 2010.

Lawson articled with a boutique litigation firm where he gained experience in a variety of practice areas including representing Indian Residential School survivors to obtain compensation through the Independent Assessment Process for sexual and physical harms suffered.

Since his call to the bar, Lawson has devoted his legal practice exclusively to the area of personal injury law before joining Jewel Radimisis Jorge LLP where he regularly acts for clients on injury claims including motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, product liability and dog bite cases. He regularly appears before the Superior Court of Justice and has also appeared before the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).

You can reach Lawson by email at lhennick@jrjlaw.com .