Spring has sprung, and here comes the sunshine, blossoms…and motorcycles. The warmer, drier weather means that motorcycles are hitting the roads earlier than ever, and it’s never too soon to brush up on your safety skills, and remember how to share the road. According to ICBC, motorcycles in BC make up about three per cent of insured vehicles, yet are involved in approximately 11 per cent of road fatalities. On average, 1,500 people are injured in crashes involving motorcycles and 37 motorcycle riders die in crashes each year in BC. Many of these accidents are due to human error, and are avoidable. Here are a few tips for both drivers and riders for preventing motorcycle accidents in BC and that can make the roads a little safer for everyone.
Make room: Motorcycles can stop quickly, and coupled with damp and slippery roads from spring showers, both cars and bikes can slide so make sure you give yourself plenty of space behind a motorbike in case you need to stop suddenly. And don’t pull up alongside a motorcycle: they need the full lane, just as cars do. Even if a motorcyclist is keeping to the left side of the lane, it is not an invitation – they often do this to ensure that they are seen, not necessarily because they are turning left.
Keep an eye out: Take extra time to look for motorcycles on the road – they are harder to see than a car, and they often travel faster, although their speed can be hard to judge. Pay attention to your blind spots, as well as areas behind parked or traveling cars, which may be preventing you from seeing the motorcycle.
Don’t assume: On a motorcycle, turn signals are often not self-cancelling, so new or less experienced drivers can often forget to turn them off. Make sure that a rider is actually turning, and look for other signals (such as leaning, or body language) to gauge a driver’s intent and direction.
When in doubt, yield: Sometimes on the road, when everything is moving quickly, it’s hard to tell who has the right of way. If you are not sure, yield to the motorcycle, just as you would to a pedestrian – they are more vulnerable.
Gear up: BC law dictates that you wear a helmet that meets or exceeds safety standards, and studies prove that they can save your life. Proper clothing, made from leather or sturdy material, can protect you from road rash and broken bones.
Be realistic: Don’t ride a bike that is too much for your skill set or size. Be aware of your bike and its limitations, and yours.
Invest in training: Experience is great but so is knowledge, especially when acquired from an expert. Make sure that you have the proper training and skills, and that you keep yourself up to date. ICBC has a list of recommended motorcycle training schools.
Be seen: Don’t assume that drivers are aware of your presence on the road – make eye contact with them when switching lanes or passing, stay out of drivers’ blind spots, and wear reflective gear when driving at night.
Maintain your motorcycle: Make sure that your bike is ready for a smooth, safe ride using T-CLOCS (Tires, Controls, Lights, Oil, Chassis and Stand) as your guide – a quick inspection of these areas before you hit the road can save you a lot of grief, and possibly help save your life.
Vancouver Motorcycle Personal Injury Lawyer
Keeping BC’s roads safe is everyone’s responsibility, regardless of whether you are on four wheels or two. But unfortunately accidents are going to occur in the cities and on the highways of BC. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, an experienced Vancouver personal injury can help you review your options for compensation for injuries.
At Warnett Hallen, our best rated car accident lawyers and legal team can review your case and help you to assess all of your options, which may include filing a no-fault benefits claim with ICBC or other insurance companies. We offer support for your recovery not just legally but also through injury recovery.
Our goal is to evaluate and work to determine the extent of physical and emotional injuries suffered in a crash. The reality is, a rider will suffer the most injuries if colliding with a car or truck. The biggest issue in a motorcycle accident is the rider has very little protection other than a helmet.
Motorcycle injuries can often be devastating and include:
- Burns (often due to friction)
- Injuries to the neck, spine, arms and legs
- Soft tissue injuries
We encourage everyone this spring and summer to be “bike aware” when driving in BC.
But if the unexpected happens, call Warnett Hallen for a free consultation.