The month of May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month. Operating a motorcycle is inherently dangerous given the lack of protection, high speed and increased likelihood for loss of control and collision.
Motorcyclists have all of the same rights and freedoms as other motor vehicle drivers. They are entitled to the same room to ride safely and they must also follow all of the same rules of the road in order to maintain safety. The safety of motorcyclists is not only the concern of riders, but also the responsibility of car and truck drivers.
As the weather continues to improve and motorcycles appear on the roadway this month, the Transportation Minister Ric McIver stated:
I would like to remind all motorists of the role they play in keeping motorcyclists safe. Due to their smaller size, motorcycles are often hard to see and require extra room to prevent serious accidents.
When motorcycles crash, their riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle and are more likely to be injured or killed. In a typical year, about 30 motorcyclists die and more than 600 are injured on Alberta roads.
MOTORCYCLING DURING THE PANDEMIC
The International Motorcycling Federation, the global governing body for motorcycle racing, announced last month its #RidersAtHome initiative. This campaign encourages motorcycle riders from around the world to behave in a responsible manner and to take care of each other.
The Federation stated:
Even though riding is still permitted in some countries – the FIM is requesting that ALL riders keep their motorcycles parked in order to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries that could take up valuable healthcare resources during a period when they are already under great pressure.
In Alberta, it appears that motorcyclists have been given the ok to return to the roadways as long as they adhere to some conditions and take all safety measures to reduce the risk of collisions. These conditions include considering whether the ride is necessary, avoiding riding in groups of 5 or larger, practicing safe riding behaviours and following the guidelines of social distancing.
We are always committed to raising awareness about safe motorcycling so that we all get to our destinations safely. That being said, we remind all motorcycle riders to stay home when possible and respect COVID-19 related restrictions.
MOST COMMON TYPES OF MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT INJURIES
Riders who have been involved in a motorcycle accident have a much greater chance of suffering serious injury than they would in other types of accidents. The following are the most common types of motorcycle accident injuries:
- Head and brain injuries: These types of injuries occur when the head violently contacts other vehicles or objects. Wearing a helmet significantly reduces the risk of injury and even death.
- Broken bones and joints: The most common motorcycle accident injuries to occur are breakages to elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and wrists.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries may occur as a result of the rider’s head hitting the pavement. Helmets, unfortunately, do not provide much protection against spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries may result in paraplegia or quadriplegia, which may be temporary or permanent.
- Lacerations and abrasions: Road rash is an injury that occurs when a rider slides sideways across the pavement following an accident. Concrete rubs against any exposed skin as the body skids across the pavement at a high rate of speed. This type of injury can lead to more permanent damage such as skin irritations, infections and in some cases surface nerve damage. To protect against road rash, it is advisable to wear protective clothing covering arms and legs in leather or heavy denim, wearing boots or shoes high enough to cover the ankles and gloves to protect the hands.
- Permanent physical and emotional scars: Burns, facial injuries, amputated limbs and severe lacerations may occur following a motorcycle accident. As a result of this disfigurement, crash victims often suffer depression or other types of emotional trauma.
TIPS TO PRACTICE SAFE RIDING BEHAVIOURS
The Alberta RCMP are encouraging motorcyclists to practice the following safety tips:
- Wear the appropriate gear: All riders should wear an approved motorcycle helmet, shatter-proof eye protection and durable weather-proof and protective clothing.
- Stay in sight: All riders should stay out of blind spots on roadways and remain visible in parking lots to ensure that drivers are aware of your presence. This includes dressing brightly to ensure you remain noticeable on the roads.
- Drive defensively: Be sure to be aware of your surroundings, share the road and change lanes with extreme caution.
- Do not drive impaired: Consuming alcohol, narcotics or prescription medication that can make you dizzy or drowsy can impair your ability to balance, steer, control speed and judge distances.
- Eliminate distracted driving: Avoid using cell phones or other hand-held devices while operating a motorcycle.
- Inspect and maintain your motorcycle: It is important to inspect your motorcycle before driving and pay attention to proper tire pressure; look for worn or uneven tire tread and damage to the tread; ensure that all pedals, levers and switches are in good working order; clean and adjust all mirrors; test the front and rear brakes independently; check for broken strands, kinks or bindings; check the headlight and tail light; and check the fuel and oil levels.
- Practice: All riders should practice their riding on safe roads away from high traffic areas and highways to ensure that they are comfortable and confident in their riding skills on the road.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, the personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie Lawyers have many years of experience successfully handling claims for those victims injured through the fault of others. Please contact the award winning and experienced lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie Lawyers online or at 403-571-0555. We will review your case to determine the best approach to take and how we can help you recover compensation for your injuries. Call our office today for a free consultation.