Did you know that May is Motorcycle Safety Month? Unless you’re a personal injury lawyer; the answer is likely “no”. Well…It is!
So, what does that mean for the average person? Probably not much…But, injury lawyers like me are trying to raise awarness of motorcycle safety and motorcycle injuries through social media posts such as this one.
The Ministry of Transportation keeps road safety and accident stats in something called “Ontario Road Safety Annual Reports“. The most updated ORSAR is a 2014 report which shows the following interesting stats for road safety:
Total Fatal and Personal Injury Collisions in 2014: 34,064
Total drivers involved in fatal and personal injury collisions: 64,202
Total vehicles involved in fatal and personal injury collisions: 64,736
Persons Killed in Motor Vehicle Collisions per 100,000 people: 3.52
11.6% of Motor Vehicle Fatality Claims were Motorcycle Fatalities
Of the 64,736 vehicles involved in reported collisions in 2014, 1,206 were motorcycles or mopeds. Of those 1,206 vehicles, 54 of those claims resulted in fatalities.
The Ontario Provincial Police release their own stats, which can be different from those collected by the Ministry of Transportation. The OPP may look at different quantitative factors/measures than the MTO.
OPP Provincial statistics for 2016:
- 76% of motorcycle fatalities are caused by either; inattentive vehicle drivers that collide with motorcycles while entering an intersection or making a turn and inexperienced motorcycle drivers who lose control of the motorcycle
- 68% of those killed on OPP patrolled highways so far in 2016 are 45 years of age or older
- 80% of OPP investigated motorcycle fatalities occur on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays and 44% occur from noon to 6pm
- 92% of the motorcycle fatalities occur during clear weather and dry road conditions
- 48% of the number of motorcycle fatalities that occur on OPP patrolled highways occur in West Region
Over the past five years, 164 motorcyclists and their passengers have been killed in parts of Ontario patrolled by OPP. The yearly breakdown of fatalities is below:
So why are motorcycle accidents so serious, and so tragic? There are a variety of factors at play. But probably the biggest factor we see has to come down to the simply laws of physics.
Motorcycles simply don’t have the same mass as cars. They aren’t equipped with heavy doors, front/rear and bumpers, airbags, or any sort of barrier to absorb a collision. When you go down on a motorcycle, you go down hard. Flesh to concrete. No cozy interiro to protect the driver or passenger. No seat belt to brace the impact. Plain and simple. There’s no safety net, other than your helmet (if you’re wearing one, your clothing, and your skill as a driver). But even the most skilled motor cycle driver won’t be able to evade an collision caused by the most reckless acts of other cars on the road way.
We encourage all riders to wear a helmet. There is no better protection while riding on a motorcycle. But even the strongest of helmets won’t be able to fully absorb the sheer force of high speed impact.
We encourage all riders to wear proper gear. Gloves, heavily padded jackets, pants, vests, boots. All of the gear not only looks cool, but it can prevent injury and even save lives. Get the gear.
We encourage all riders to have their bikes checked before taking them out for the spring/summer season. Chances are your bike has been locked up in a garage or storage facility over the winter. When the warm nice weather hits, undoubtedly you want to take your bike out for a ride. Before you do, get your bike checked by a mechanic. Make sure that the brakes, engine, and transmission all work properly. Make sure to properly inflate your tires as they likely lost air sitting for months in the cold weather.
Here’s a quick tip that many riders forget. Make sure that your brake lights, signal lights and head lights are all working! See and be seen on the road will help prevent an accident and save lives. If you’re slowing down on your motorcycle, but your tail lamp has gone out, drivers in larger and heavier cars won’t be able to stop in time when you slow down.
If your motorcycle has been stored up all winter long, make sure before you drive it off that it’s properly insured! Many motorcyclists don’t insure their vehicles over the winter, and then may forget to make the call to their insurer to re-insure their bikes. Riding a motorcycle without insurance is illegal and is putting you and others at serious financial risk should things go wrong on the road. An insurer is allowed to DENY your claim if you are riding your motorcycle without proper insurance. Nowadays, there’s not excuse for not being able to re-insure your motorcycle if it wasn’t insured over the winter. It’s as simple as a phone call to your insurance company. Don’t know how to reach your insurance company? That’s just as simple as a quick Google Search, or looking at the back of your pink slip of insurance you may have in your car or in your ownership manual/envelope.
For many, it’s just a matter of remembering to make that phone call. So, if this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog Post helps one motorcyclist remember to re-insure their bike after a long winter, I’ve done my job raising awareness as a personal injury lawyer over Motorcycle Awareness Month.
Enough motorcycle awareness month talk? Sure. I would like to thank Lexpert for Recognizing me, Brian Goldfinger, in their annual 2017 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory. To be selected reflects the respect and admiration with which lawyers are held by their voting peers. I was ranking “Leading Lawyers To Watch, Personal Injury: Represents Plaintiffs“. This is a huge honour which I’m very proud of. None of this would have been possible without the support of my loving family, staff, friends and peers in the medical, rehabilitation and legal communities. Your confidence in me and my law firm has been truly flattering. I look forward to continuing to fight for the rights of accident victims, disability claimants, and their loved ones in the years to come.