Stay safe on your motorcycle this spring

Spring has finally sprung. Crocuses are peeking above the ground, birds are singing…and motorcycles are roaring down the streets.

Despite the fact that motorcycles are only on the road for a short portion of the year, they account for a significant number of injuries and fatalities. In 2010, of the 885 motor vehicle related fatalities in Ontario, 57 involved motorcycles and mopeds.

With this in mind, and as a follow-up to last week’s post on bicycle helmet safety, we thought it would be useful to provide some motorcycle safety tips for you.

  • Ensure you are comfortable with the power of the bike. Not all bikes are created equal!
  • Wear the proper gear. This means at the very very least wearing a helmet. If you don’t wear your helmet because you don’t like it then you can get a badass, awesome looking one that also keeps you safe. It’s common sense to wear a helmet. But it would be foolish not to also consider long pants, long-sleeve shirts, boots and gloves. Not only will these items keep you warm and protected from debris while riding, they could save your skin—literally—in the event of an accident.
  • Before you take your vehicle out make sure you have the requisite insurance in place.
  • Do what you can to make sure other drivers see you. Use your lights, wear bright clothing or clothing with reflective material, and make eye contact with other road users.
  • Take a course. There are several approved motorcycle safety courses available in Ontario. The Ministry of Transportation’s list can be found here. Not only can these courses be fun and give you a chance to meet other riders in your community, they can also shorten your time in the M2 licence period by four months.
  • Know what you can ride and where you can ride it. For example, pocket bikes cannot be used on roads in Ontario
  • Know your license restrictions:
    • M1 Licence:
      • Must have zero blood alcohol
      • Must only drive during daylight hours
      • Must not drive on roads with speed limits greater than 80km/hr with certain road exceptions
      • Must not carry passengers
  • M2 Licence
    • Must have zero blood alcohol

By keeping these things in mind, you can start your spring riding season on a safe note.

Contributed by Angela Comella, an OTLA member and a lawyer practising with Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers in Toronto, Ont.

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Angela first joined Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers as a summer student in 2004. It was during this time that she developed a passion for advocacy on behalf of injured persons and their families. In September 2005, after a successful completion of the Bar Admission Course, she returned to the firm as an articling student. Angela was called to the Bar in July 2006. Her practice is focused on personal injury matters, medical malpractice, disability law and criminal injuries compensation.