Keeping Motorcyclists Safe in Ontario

With the arrival of summer, it is prime motorcycle season here in Ontario. With about 220,000 registered motorcycles in the province, motorcyclists and other drivers should remember these key tips for safely sharing the road.

For motorcyclists:

  • Be seen. Drivers who hit motorcyclists often say that the motorcycle “came out of nowhere” and they just didn’t even see it. Brightly coloured clothing and using the blocking position can help make you more visible to other road users.
  • Drive defensively. Focus all your attention on what you are seeing and hearing, and judging what is going to happen next.
  • Keep up your training. As one enthusiast notes, “It’s easy to ride a motorcycle, but not to ride one well. It’s definitely not easy to ride one safely, and that’s where a training school is essential.” (As a bonus, many insurers offer discounts to customers who have taken training.)

For drivers:

  • Remember that motorcycles use a full lane, just like any other vehicle.
  • Be especially mindful not to follow too closely behind a motorcycle. While motorcycles can come to a stop more quickly than other types of vehicles, the risk of damage and injury from being rear-ended is much more significant.
  • Think about vulnerability. Remember that you are sharing the road with many types of road users. Along with pedestrians and cyclists, motorcyclists are incredibly exposed compared to motor vehicles.

Small mistakes can be deadly for motorcycle riders, and while fatal motorcycle accidents have decreased over time, collisions involving motorcycles tend to be quite serious. According to a CBC report, there were 36 motorcycle fatalities in Ontario in 2018, 48 in 2017 and 36 in 2016.