By Matt Lalande in Motorcycle Accidents on May 19, 2022
We’re proud to say that since 2003 Matt Lalande has successfully represented many motorcycle gang members in in Hamilton and throughout Ontario.
Our Hamilton motorcycle accident lawyers have represented members from many motorcycle club chapters in Ontario from Red Devils to Hell’s Angels members. We have represented prospects, associates, honorary members, road captains, and on one occasion, a chapter officer. When someone is hurt in a motorcycle accident their lives are often changed forever – no matter who they are – whether it be a weekend warrior or a motorcycle gang prospect. All motorcyclists, no matter from what background, represent a segment of vulnerable road users that have high levels of risk, mostly because they lack protection. Injuries do not discriminate, and neither do we. We are not concerned about a motorcycle club’s social history, it’s subculture, it’s affiliations or it’s purpose. We are concerned with helping human beings who are hurt through no fault of their own and in our experience, motorcycle club members are no doubt among the most vulnerable groups of road accident victims, who are prone to a growing mortality rate due to the constant rise in the number of accidents in Ontario.
Motorcyclists ride for different reasons. some for personal reasons, some as a hobby, and others for a variety of other motivations. The following are the types of motorcycle riders whom we have represented over the years of practicing motorcycle accident law:
Sport riders: Doing time trials and hill climbs seems to be the main focus of sport riders, motorcyclists who are focused on refining their skills and tuning their machines to achieve the best possible race result possible. Whether they compete in professional racing or simply do it as a personal passion, sport riders are always looking for different ways to improve their performance on the course.
Adventure tourers: Adventure motorcycles, or ADV bikes, are designed to allow cyclists to travel longer distances while comfortably carrying a load. These vehicles are designed for travelling to destinations on and off-road, and are equally suited for long stretches of paved highway and rocky mountain trails alike.
Commuters: For those with a love of motorcycles and who have a need to drive to work, there’s always the option to bike to work. Die hard riders always love to commute by motorcycle.
Newbie riders: All riders have to start somewhere, and it doesn’t always look pretty. Whether these are younger riders getting an early start, or older riders picking up a new hobby, newbie riders can find themselves at risk of getting into an accident in the simplest situations.
Weekend warriors: After a long week at the office, the weekend warrior heads home just to jump on the motorcycle and head off on the road until Monday morning and the office calls again.
Harley die-hards: Arguably the most iconic motorcycle in existence, diehard fans of the Harley Davidson are everywhere, and for good reason. There’s nothing quite like the formidable sight and sound of a Harley. “Passion” is an understatement for some of these diehard fans of motorcycling, some of who spend nearly every weekend on a motorcycle.
While they all have their differences in why they choose to ride, the risk of getting hurt on a motorcycle is the same for all of these motorcyclists. In much the same way, our Hamilton lawyers are prepared to represent motorcyclists who have been injured in motorcycle accidents, something that unfortunately happens far too often.
Motorcyclists are vulnerable road users at a particularly high risk of serious injury or death from crashes. Some of the most common injuries that we see are noted below:
Minor injuries: Motorcyclists can receive injuries like contusions, lacerations, strains and sprains from landing on the street after a motorcycle accident. Sliding on the road, especially for the motorcyclists not wearing protective gear, can also result in “road rash”, which can result in abrasions on the legs and arms.
Fractures and bone breaks: Being hit by a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds means that there’s always the possibility of having fractured bones as a result of a motorcycle accident. A cyclist can be pinned in between vehicles (or the motorcycle itself), crushed against the road, or thrown against a guardrail. There have been cases of motorcyclists suffering fractures to the hip, tibia, ankles and femurs.
Internal bleeding and physical trauma: Even with the very best protective clothing and having a helmet fastened on, there’s very little protecting a cyclist in a motorcycle accident. Many cyclists who survive the initial accident will require emergency medical additional, with some sustaining internal, unseen injuries that result in long-term disabilities and, in some cases, even death.
Spinal injuries: It is not uncommon for traumatic spinal cord injuries to be caused by a serious motorcycle accident. Depending on the location of the lesion or injury, a motorcycle accident victim may experience symptoms ranging from severe pain to complete and total paralysis. Without the protection of a car surrounding them, motorcyclists are far more likely than drivers of passenger vehicles to suffer traumatic spinal cord injuries, both complete and incomplete, from a motorcycle crash.
Brain injuries: Even with the production of element motorcycle related traumatic brain injuries are of common occurrence. Serious motorcycle accident crash victims suffer head injuries even though using safety helmets at the time of the motorcycle crash. Helmets are no doubt protective in terms of the victim sustaining mild to moderate head injuries, but severe traumatic brain injuries such as traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhages and diffuse axonal injury are commonly reported in high energy motorcycle crashes.
Over the years, there have been numerous amounts of in-depth accident studies that have been carried out to determine what the common causes of motorcycle collisions:
Of course, the results of many of these studies are varied because of the different characteristics of motorcycles involved, different characteristics to collisions involved in other road group users involved in motorcycle crashes. The following highlights the conclusions of many studies involving the main causes of motorcycle crashes in North America:
Failing to negotiate a bend is a very common cause of a single vehicle motorcycle accident crash. These accidents are normally the fault of the motorcycle rider because he or she approaches the bend at too high of a speed. Then, the motorcyclist is unable to negotiate the bend properly, takes the bend too wide and ends up losing control. Often times motorcyclists end up either off-road or negotiating back onto the roadway too quickly, end up in the oncoming lanes – causing an inevitable accident. These types of motorcycle accidents are more likely to occur on sharper bends than gentle bands.
Overtaking is another common cause of motorcycle crashes. This involves a motorcyclist trying to perform an overtaking manoeuvre or, such as passing slow moving or stationary traffic.
Speed that is excessive and inappropriate speed is one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents throughout North America. Although many accidents happen at low speeds, fatal and extremely serious injuries or more likely to occur at higher speeds.
Unsafe lane changes are a common cause of motorcycle accidents in Ontario – from both the riders and motorist perspective. Unsafe lane changes made by motorists without checking their surroundings puts motorcyclists in serious danger of a motorcycle crash.
Left-hand turns – there is a heavy onus on left-hand turning motorists in Ontario. When a motorist is waiting to turn left, and misjudges either the speed or distance of an oncoming motorcycle, that motorist can place on oncoming rider is an extremely dangerous position. This is how many, if not how most motorcycle accident crashes happen in Ontario.
Sharp turns – it might be a car that’s made a quick adjustment, leaving you with less room than you thought to sneak by, or turning on a rocky road and not having the traction that you thought, but turning on two wheels instead of four means that any mistake can mean taking a spill. If the turn is done at slow speeds, the rider might get off lucky with a few bruises and maybe a minor cut here or there, but a spill at high speeds can mean very, very serious injury.
Accidents while changing lanes – there’s the potential for an accident for both cars and motorcycles changing lanes, but for the smaller vehicle, the chances of slipping into a neighbouring vehicle’s blind spot are much greater. In addition, while a side-swipe might simply leave a mark on another car, it can lead to a major injury for a motorcyclist, who might be forced to spill on the road or even be sent flying off the bike.
Pile-ups – when riding in a group, this can particularly become a potential for disaster, especially if there’s an inexperienced motorcyclist in the mix. With the tight formation that many biker groups like to form, one mistake from one cyclist can spell disaster for the rest of the bikers.
For motorcyclists, riding in numbers does not always mean safety from motorcycle accidents. Since 1981, motorcyclists have been gathering in Port Dover for a massive event celebrating Friday the 13th that’s nothing short of a festival, with live music, raffles, and thousands of motorcycles.
In 2021, it was reported that the area welcomed 45,000 motorcyclists for their event – a massive amount of motorcycle traffic for such a small area.
However, with the higher number of motorcyclists in the area, there are always a number of accidents involving motorcyclists during the time of the event, the majority of which were not caused by the motorcyclists themselves. These include being rear-ended by cars while waiting at a traffic signal, or being side-swiped by cars inexperienced with driving around that volume of motorcycles. Tragically though, despite their lack of fault, it’s often the motorcyclist that ends up badly hurt in cases of motorcycle accidents.
Every year, regretfully, we end up representing riders who are hurt in crashes going to or coming from Port Dover’s Friday the 13th and other motorcycle gatherings throughout the summer. Most, if not all injuries tend to be caused by inattention of other vehicles.
Are you a Motorcyclist who has Suffered Serious Injuries?
Road accidents are regarded as the most common type of accidents threatening the lives of many people annually in Ontario – especially those riding motorcycles. The most serious of injuries and the most fatal road accidents are those pertaining to motorcyclists. If you’ve suffered a life-changing injury in a motorcycle accident, we can help. Since 2003 we have assisted countless motorcycle accident victims across in Ontario recover the compensation and wage losses they deserve.
If you are a motorcycle club member – we can help. Over the past 20 years Matt Lalande has represented many members from motorcycle club chapters across Ontario. We are a law firm that placed the client first – which to us, is all that matters. Whether your a casual rider or the vice-president of your chapter, we place the same amount of effort into the case in order to ensure an acceptable outcome for you, as the client.
If you are the victim of a motorcycle accident, speak to our Hamilton motorcycle accident lawyers today. We represent any and all injured motorcyclists, no matter why you ride. Call us no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the southern Ontario region at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can send us a confidential email through our website and one of our motorcycle accident lawyers will get back to you promptly.
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