As the sun warms Alberta’s roads, motorcycles reappear, marking Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month’s arrival in May. This month serves as a vital reminder to all road users – motorists and motorcyclists alike – of the importance of sharing the road safely and the potential dangers of motorcycle accidents. While the freedom of the open road on a motorcycle is undeniable, it is crucial to acknowledge the inherent vulnerability riders face. 

This blog will highlight the importance of motorcycle safety awareness for all road users and provide practical tips for riders and other drivers to help keep everyone safe this summer. 

Why is Motorcycle Safety Important?

Motorcyclists are significantly more vulnerable than those in enclosed vehicles. According to Alberta Transportation’s recent statistics, motorcyclists were involved in 9.5 per cent of all traffic fatalities in the province in 2021 despite only accounting for 2.6 per cent of all vehicles on the road. This translates to a much higher chance of serious injury or death for motorcyclists in the event of a collision. 

Further, the Alberta Motorcycle Safety Society reports an alarming ratio of fatality to motorcycle collisions, with many of these accidents occurring allegedly due to rider error. As such, whether you are a seasoned motorcycle driver or a new rider, taking time to get comfortable or re-acclimatize yourself to your motorcycle before hitting the open road can be incredibly helpful and potentially life-saving.

Road Users Have a Shared Responsibility to Keep Riders Safe

All road users play a significant role in keeping motorcyclists and everyone else safe during their commutes. Motorcycle riders are at a much higher risk of sustaining a catastrophic or fatal injury due to the lack of protection provided by their vehicle in comparison to a driver in a car or truck. In the event of a collision, a motorcycle rider may sustain various injuries, including:

Responsibilities of Motorcyclists

Motorcycle riders can take several proactive steps to protect themselves while on the road and potentially mitigate serious injuries:

  • Gearing up for safety: Wearing a helmet while riding on a motorcycle is mandatory in Alberta, but riders should consider investing in and wearing full protective gear, including a jacket, pants, gloves, and boots for maximum protection.
  • Conduct a thorough motorcycle check before riding: Mechanical issues on a motorcycle rider can result in serious consequences. Therefore, bikers need to be sure their motorcycle is in proper working condition and should check their brakes and tires before hitting the open road to mitigate the likelihood of an accident occurring. 
  • Ride defensively: Motorcycle riders should assume that other drivers might not see them; therefore, it is important to be alert, anticipate potential dangers while on the road (including wildlife), and drive according to the circumstances.
  • Obey traffic laws: Speeding, aggressive maneuvers, and impaired driving only put riders and other road users at risk of injury. As such, it is crucial to drive appropriately for the weather, pay attention to posted speed limits, and adhere to local road traffic laws.

Responsibilities of Motorists

Drivers who are not on motorcycles also play a significant part in ensuring riders’ safety and should take additional care when on the road: 

  • Look twice to save a life: Motorists often miss motorcycles due to their smaller size, so it is important to complete proper checks, including blind spots, before changing lanes or turning to ensure the road is clear before proceeding. 
  • Maintain a safe distance behind motorcyclists: Following too closely behind a motorcycle significantly reduces a driver’s escape room in case of sudden braking, so it is important to maintain a safe distance behind motorcycles to remain prepared for the unexpected. It is also important for motorists to avoid crowning a motorcycle by drifting into their lane or attempting to share lanes.
  • Avoid distractions: Texting, eating, or actively using navigation apps while driving can all contribute to a driver’s missed cues and potentially dangerous situations. By driving without distractions, motorists can remain alert and aware of their surroundings and react quickly if necessary. 
  • Remain alert: When sharing the road with motorcycles, some drivers make the mistake of assuming that they behave like cars. However, motorbikes require more attention and skill to operate safely given their distinct center of gravity and driving characteristics. For example, motorcycle drivers may need to swerve and apply their brakes more often than cars, trucks, or SUVs to avoid road hazards like potholes or debris.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness in May and Year-Round

By understanding and respecting each other’s role on the road, Albertans can significantly reduce motorcycle accidents and fatalities across the province. Whether you are a seasoned rider or a motorist, committing to sharing the road safely this May and all year round is important.

If you are a motorcycle rider and have sustained an injury from a collision due to another road user’s negligence, you must contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who can review the circumstances of your case and help you determine whether you have a claim. Your lawyer will also manage your personal injury claim throughout the process so that you can prioritize your health and recovery. 

Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP in Calgary for Skilled Representation in Your Motorcycle Accident Claim

If you have suffered an injury due to a motorcycle accident, contact the trusted personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP as soon as possible to determine whether you have a claim. We will review the circumstances surrounding your case and advise you of your options throughout the process. We ensure that we help our clients recover the maximum compensation available to allow them to move forward after an accident. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us by phone at 403-571-0555 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation.