Summer 2022 has seen some record temperature highs throughout Alberta, with plenty of sunny days that have been ideal for hitting the highway and going for a cruise. With motorcyclists around the province enjoying the last few moments of riding season, it’s important to take a moment to review some of the dangerous practices that can lead to deadly accidents and/or life-altering personal injuries as the result of a collision.
At James H. Brown and Associates, we believe that prevention is key when it comes to avoiding accidents and resulting injuries. We know that Albertans love their time on the road, and, as a leading team of injury lawyers, we also know the risks associated with motorcycle collisions. Below are some of the highest-risk behaviours and factors to be aware of when riding; read on to learn more about how you can stay safe, as well as the benefits of partnering with our team when it matters most!
Know the Risks
Motorcycling is a fulfilling pastime for many Albertans, and for anyone who loves the open road and the thrill of speed, it’s not hard to see why. With some of the most scenic routes in North America and bustling cities like Edmonton and Calgary offering plenty of interesting destinations and meet-ups for enthusiasts to visit, bike culture is alive and well across the province! As any experienced biker will tell you, there may be nothing like the open road, but hoping on a motorcycle isn’t without its share of risks.
Riding demands plenty of experience, caution, and awareness while operating your biking to navigate the many challenges you’ll encounter on the road. In order to stay safe and responsible, you’ll want to avoid and/or be aware of:
Drug and Alcohol Use
Driving while impaired is a serious issue that places thousands of Albertans at risk each year. Whether you’re behind the wheel of the car or taking your bike out for a spin, drugs and alcohol simply have no place on the road. From imparting perception and risk assessment to removing our ability to accurately moderate speed (more on that below), etc, driving while impaired is one of the biggest risks on the road today. The NHTSA (US based) estimates that 26% of motorcycle accident fatalities are caused by drunk drivers annually; to prevent this rising statistic, it is imperative that anyone operating a motor vehicle or motorcycle only do so while sober, alert, and of clear mind.
While speeding is a leading cause of accidents for both automobiles and motorcyclists, the risks involved while riding a bike are far more significant due to the overall lack of structural protection offered. It may be thrilling to feel the wind on your skin, but it’s important to remember that speed closely correlates to your perception and reflex control, meaning that the faster you go, the less likely you’ll be able to react or stop as quickly as you want to should the need arise. Abiding by speed limits and staying in tune with traffic (i.e. not speeding up to lane split) is one of the best ways to avoid collisions and stay safe on the road.
Lack of Experience
Riding a motorcycle takes skill, and for those new to biking, it’s important to “go slow” and exercise extra caution while getting the hang of things. While veteran riders will often know how to intuitively navigate traffic and unexpected hiccups, newer riders need to ensure they’re being as alert as possible and remove distractions like music and even secondary passengers until they feel fully comfortable and in control.
Driving to Road Conditions
Just as automobile drivers need to follow road conditions, motorcyclists should be doubly concerned about the challenges posed by the weather, construction, or even just poor pavement. Always go slow enough to give yourself the time to readjust, and if you’re second-guessing the weather or the overall conditions on your route, it may be best to take the car or let the bike wait for another, more ideal day for a ride.
Did you know that left turns pose a major risk to motorcyclists? Left turns are a risky manoeuvre on a bike and are the leading cause of motorcycle collisions all across the world. This is, in part, due to the reduced visibility of riders in comparison to other vehicles on the road. Drivers often think they have checked for other motorists while navigating, but unless they’re looking for a motorcycle, they may miss you as you turn, leading to a T-Bone collision or head-on accident.
In order to avoid injuries caused by such accidents, you should always do your best to be visible (have lights on at night, wear reflective clothing), use your turn signals, and watch other drivers carefully (look at tires to see if they intend to turn, etc), and always leave a good following distance between yourself and other cars around you.
Remember, when it comes down to a “car vs motorcycle” accident, the sad reality is that no one really “wins”. Stay alert and cautious, and you’ll greatly increase your odds of avoiding personal injury.
Other Environmental Factors
There’s no shortage of other factors that can pose a challenge to your ride, whether it’s navigating a busy line of opening and closing doors in Urban centres like Edmonton and Calgary or riding behind heavy equipment on rural roads. In order to stay safe, you should always do your due diligence and be aware of any existing conditions before you ride, stay alert while driving, and always exercise good judgement while behind the wheel.
Dealing With the Aftermath of a Motorcycle Accident?
Sometimes, even with our best efforts in place, accidents and collisions do happen. If you or someone you love has recently been involved in a motorcycle collision, James H. Brown and Associates is here to help. We know firsthand just how difficult it can be to face the realities of a personal injury, including spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and debilitating pain. Our goal is to partner with Albertans to ensure you always have the right help when it comes to injury law, as well as the peace of mind of knowing that your needs are heard and represented when it matters most.
Not sure if an injury lawyer is right for you? Take our short quiz to find out.