Counting down the days until motorcycle season? Many Ontarians are looking forward to that first warm day when they can take their bike out of storage and hit the road. However, being on a motorcycle also carries certain risks; motorcycle crashes cause injuries which are on average 10 times as severe as those from accidents involving only cars.1 Before you set out, review these six motorcycle tips to help you protect yourself and your bike this summer.
1. Drive defensively
Being on a motorcycle makes you less visible to other drivers and more vulnerable to injury; most motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers.2 In 2017, almost half of motorcyclist fatalities were not caused by the driver of the motorcycle.3 Always keep your headlights on to increase visibility, and avoid putting yourself in dangerous situations by avoiding drivers’ blind spots, staying in your lane, not speeding and being mindful of your surroundings. If you’re not sure that you’ve been seen by a left-turning car or think you’re in a car’s blind spot, it’s better to slow down.
2. Watch the road
With only two wheels, motorcycles have half of the traction of a car. If the road is wet or dusty, keep a greater following distance so you have time to stop safely. Always look ahead to anticipate potential danger and watch for loose gravel, potholes or other road hazards that could cause a problem.
3. Improve your skills
Whether you’re a beginner or have been riding for years, you can always improve your riding skill. Each spring, it’s a good idea to take a course such as those available through Gearing Up, or practice riding in a safe environment. Don’t push yourself beyond your skill level by driving a bike that’s too powerful for your ability or carrying a passenger for the first time on busy or unsafe roads.
4. Check your ride
Before every ride, check your motorcycle thoroughly. Gauge your tire pressure, tread depth, hand and foot brakes, horn, headlights, signal indicators and fluid levels. Don’t forget to look under your motorcycle for gas or oil leaks as well.
5. Gear up
Protective gear can be the difference between life and death in a motorcycle accident. Helmets are very effective in preventing crash fatalities and Canadian law requires that you and your passenger both wear one. High visibility safety vests are also important; wear a bright or fluorescent vest for daytime riding and a reflective vest for night time riding. Even if it’s hot, wearing tough clothing such as leather will protect your skin in the event of a slide across pavement.
6. Have a valid licence and insurance
Never drive without a valid Class 6 motorcycle licence and motorcycle insurance. Although all motorcycle insurance covers third-party liability and accident coverage, you may want to add collision or upset coverage. This protects your bike if you overturn or collide with an object. Comprehensive coverage will cover perils such as fire, theft, lightning, falling objects, or impact with an animal.
If you need to purchase motorcycle insurance or update your motorcycle insurance coverage, call 1-866-561-5559 to speak with an OTIP broker today!
1. Toronto Sun
2. Mackesy Smye Lawyers
3. Ottawa Citizen