Spring is here and with the warmer weather comes the presence of motorcycles (and bicycles) on the roads. OPP are warning all drivers and riders to have respect for one another, and to share the road. Almost half of all motorcycle and car collisions are due to car driver error.
Motorcycle riders are far more vulnerable in crashes because they lack any cage around them to hold the rider safe (like cars have). Regardless of who is at fault in the collision it’s the motorcycle rider who will suffer the gravest personal injuries.
As the weather warms and the snow melts off the roads motorcycle traffic will increase dramatically on the roadways. Drivers should watch for motorcyclists on the road and be aware that they are smaller than cars harder to see in blind spots.
The OPP are also warning motorcycle riders to ride with caution and to obey the laws of the road. Speeding, weaving in and out of traffic or lane splitting are all extremely dangerous and make it difficult for motorists to see them. Wearing brightly coloured reflective gear makes motorcyclists far more visible day and night. Speeding and loss of control are major causes of motorcycle crashes.
Here are helpful tips form the OPP on staying safe on the roads:
· Share the road with motorcycles - in almost half of all motorcycle collisions, the motorist is at fault, not the motorcyclist.
· Motorists should always have a watchful eye out for motorcycles given how difficult they can be to see.
· Watch for motorcycles at intersections - over one third of motorcycle collisions are intersection related.
· DO NOT follow motorcycles too closely. Give them plenty of room in case you need to stop suddenly.
· Motorcyclists should not assume that other drivers can see them - drivers that have collided with motorcycles often say they did not see the motorcycle until it was too late.
· Be seen at intersections - as stated above, over one third of the motorcycle collisions are intersection related.
· Always ride at a speed appropriate for the road and weather conditions, as speeding and loss of control are major causes of motorcycle collisions.
· Always wear an approved motorcycle helmet and bright, high-quality protective gear to make you more visible to other motorists.
If you are a licensed motorcycle rider consider taking a refresher safety course this year. You can refresh and reinforce riding skills and become current with new laws.
Motorcyclists should also be wearing proper riding gear any time they are out on their machines. These include:
· A DOT approved motorcycle helmet. 4 types are acceptable: full face, modular, half and shorty. You can get all the details here.
· A motorcycle specific riding jacket made of leather, synthetic mesh or denim. This will help to protect your skiing in the event of a fall. It should cover your wrists and waist and you should wear it done up. Consider the new brightly coloured and reflective jackets for high visibility.
· Riding pants – same materials as the jackets.
· Gloves will protect your hands from stones and insects and in the event of a fall.
· Riding boots which are rugged of leather or synthetics. Blundstones and runners are not a good idea since they come off easily. Steel toe boots are acceptable. The boots should cover your ankles and have rubber or high traction soles to keep you safe and secure on the bike.
· Eye protection is you ride without a face mask on your helmet.