By Matt Lalande in Motorcycle Accidents on July 15, 2019
Motorcycle accidents can be incredibly dangerous, life-changing, and often fatal for the rider. Since they are open, the rider is not protected as they would be in a vehicle that contains air bags, doors, and metal enclosures. During the summer months, motorcyclists are much more visible as the warm weather creates perfect riding conditions. For motorcyclists, this is an opportune time to enjoy the open air and the thrill of riding that they do not generally experience during the hazardous winter months. As motor vehicle drivers, it is important to be increasingly alert and aware during this time.
Everyone has the right to enjoy Hamilton’s roads safely and equally, no matter how many wheels your vehicle utilizes. As Hamilton motorcycle accident lawyers, we have seen a significant amount of severe and life-changing injuries from motorcycle accidents that could have been avoided if the motor vehicle drivers had followed the basic how-to’s on sharing the road.
Motorcyclists are travelling with a higher risk of accident, injury and fatality than individuals who are operating cars, trucks, SUVs, and other motorized vehicles.
According to a study in the Canadian Medical Journal, motorcycle accidents account for 10% of motor vehicle-related deaths in Ontario, despite making up only 2% of vehicles using the road. Additionally, the study found that a motorcycle accident causes injuries that are approximately 10 times more severe than other motor vehicle collisions.
It is incredibly important that anyone who operates a motor vehicle to understand how to share the road with motorcyclists in Hamilton. In 2017, the year with the highest number of motorcycle fatalities, the Ontario Provincial Police reported that more than 50% of the victims were following proper driving rules on their motorcycles, and that car and truck drivers were at fault.
This signifies the importance and the responsibility that motor vehicle drivers have to safely share the road with motorcycles. Following these simple rules may assist you in protecting an individual’s life, as well as your own future.
Motorcycles are smaller and harder to see than other vehicles on the road. As a result, they can quickly and unintentionally evade a driver’s blind spot. Always double-check before you make any lane changes or turns. Do not rely on your vehicle’s obstacle-detection technology for checking blind spots or surroundings. This type of technology is still relatively new and has not been proven to be completely effective at detecting motorcyclists or cyclists on the road. Always take an extra look for safety purposes.
Additionally, make sure that you utilize your turn signal at all times to let motorcyclists know your intentions and prepare accordingly. In some instances, when a vehicle speeds up to pass a motorcycle, the amount of wind that is created by the vehicle can be enough force to disrupt the motorcycle’s stability and cause an accident.
Pay attention to weather conditions. Despite the fact that most motorcyclists operate in the spring and summer months, this does not mean that there are no weather hazards to be conscious about. Wet roads can cause vehicles to lose control and can increase brake time, increasing the risk for a motorcyclist.
A significant portion of Hamilton motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. This is largely due to motor vehicles making left turns without seeing oncoming motorcycles, due to their smaller size combined with other factors such as sun glare, oncoming vehicles turning left, or distraction.
Obeying traffic signs is another important aspect of driving safely and in accordance with others on the road. Many motorcycle accidents at intersections are caused by drivers who do not yield properly to right-of-way traffic.
When at an intersection, always make a double-check specifically looking for motorcycles. Many drivers may be focused on any pedestrians in the crosswalk and neglect to be cautious about motorcycle drivers. Additionally, in large intersections with a significant amount of traffic, such as those in tourist areas or downtown districts, motorcyclists may also be harder to see and should be considered when making any turns or actions.
This rule can apply to anyone on the road, whether you are operating a car or crossing the street as a pedestrian. Always stay focused on the road and be alert to all of your surroundings. While you may be under the impression that you are driving according to the law and etiquette of the road, other drivers may not be exercising that same caution.
Distracted drivers are eight times more likely to cause an accident, and up to 80% of Canadian car accidents are caused by a driver’s inattention to the road in some form. This is increasingly dangerous for everyone using the road, whether they are in a motor vehicle or not.
Eliminate any distractions in your vehicle that may take your attention away from the road. This includes actions such as putting your smartphone away and out of sight, setting your GPS route before you begin driving, and avoiding adjusting radio buttons. These are only a few actions that seem minimal, but could have a devastating impact in those few seconds where you are not paying attention to the road.
All drivers, regardless of what type of vehicle they are operating, should always be courteous to other drivers on the road. This is taught in driver’s school but is often forgotten as individuals become more adjusted to their driving routine.
Road rage can be incredibly dangerous, especially when motorcycles are involved. In a moment of anger, it can be difficult for the driver of a car to remember that their vehicle is significantly larger than a motorcycle.
Leave more space behind a motorcycle than you would another car or truck. Do not follow too closely, as braking time differs with motorcycles. This is especially important for motorcycles that do not feature an automatic braking system and rely on two separate braking systems for the front and rear wheels. Additionally, a motorcyclist may not always brake immediately when slowing down, which results in the motorcycle’s brake light not coming on until the last minute. If a motor vehicle is following too close, they may neglect to slow down in time and collide with the motorcyclist.
If you are feeling aggravated by a motorcyclist in front of you, do not attempt to intimidate them by following them closely. Many drivers engage in this type of behavior with other vehicles, but this could be dangerous and is never worth the risk, no matter how much of a hurry you are in.
Our Hamilton motorcycle accident lawyers have seen the dangers of these accidents and collisions firsthand, and have worked with many individuals that have suffered severely due to a motorcycle accident. We have substantial resources, and combined with accurate and reliable legal counsel, can provide adequate assistance for your situation. Contact our Hamilton motorcycle accident lawyers at 905-333-8888 or through our online contact form. All consultations are free, with no up front fees and no obligation to retain our firm.