There is a stereotype that motorcyclists are dangerous, rule-breaking rebels. However, when it comes to riding, motorcyclists can be just as adamant about being safe and responsible as anyone else.
In fact, statistics from the Ontario Provincial Police in 2017 show that motorists and motorcyclists were roughly equal in terms of causing fatal motorcycle accidents. As such, staying safe involves both avoiding dangerous behaviours and protecting yourself from other dangerous drivers.
The following precautions can help riders reduce their risk of being injured or killed in a crash.
- Wear protective gear. This includes helmets (obviously!), jackets, eye protection and gloves.
- Highlight your visibility. Don't ride in people's blind spots or assume others can see you. Wear reflective clothing and make sure the lights are all functioning on your bike.
- Get some training. Attend motorcycle training courses before you start riding. You can also take refresher courses periodically to stay current on your knowledge and riding skills.
- Practice. While gaining experience and becoming more comfortable, riders may want to stay on familiar roads, avoid lengthy trips or rides during periods of low visibility or bad weather.
- Inspect your bike. Before you ride, make sure your motorcycle is working properly. If you discover it needs maintenance or repair, refrain from riding it until you are confident it is safe.
- Follow traffic laws. Obey speed limits; do not lane split or lane filter; avoid any distractions; comply with traffic signals.
- Watch for dangerous drivers. A driver who is swerving, drifting out of his or her lane, speeding up or slowing down without reason or following others too closely may be impaired or distracted. Steer clear of these drivers.
These precautions can help riders avoid an accident and can help riders stay safe.
Unfortunately, riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than riding in a car, and it puts riders at a higher risk than other motorists. Bikes are smaller, more difficult to see and provide less protection in the event of a crash. However, taking these steps can increase the likelihood of a rider getting from point A to point B safely.