Helmets save lives, and are required in Ontario by law – almost 10% of riders killed and almost 15% of riders injured in collisions were not wearing helmets.
- Always wear an approved motorcycle helmet and protective gear when riding.
- High-quality riding gear can protect you in the event of a fall or collision. Always wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin.
- Consider wearing a jacket with padding in the shoulders and elbows, leather gloves and pants and boots. Ensure that protective gear does not interfere with riding or controls.
- Wear bright colours, such as red, yellow or orange or reflective clothing to make yourself more visible to other motorists.
- Many motorcycle collisions occur between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Always ride with lights on to increase visibility.
Be seen at intersections – over one third of motorcycle collisions are intersection related.
- Watch for vehicles that may make a left turn across your path or pull out from a side street.
- Don’t assume that other drivers see you. Drivers that have collided with motorcycles often say they did not see the motorcycle until it was too late.
- Approach intersections slowly, move as far away as you can from the other vehicle and avoid being in other drivers’ blind spots.
- When making a right turn, angle your motorcycle across the lane (45 degrees) to create a larger blocking position and to make yourself more visible to drivers behind you. Riding in the blocking position prevents other vehicles from sharing the lane or getting too close to you. As the term implies, the blocking position “blocks” other vehicles from sharing your lane.
- Be sure to check over your shoulder for any cars or pedestrians before proceeding with the turn.
Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Drinking alcohol before riding increases your chances of having a collision.
- Alcohol can affect your ability to handle your motorcycle safely at blood alcohol levels below the legal limit.
- Drugs (including prescription drugs) can affect your ability to drive a motorcycle safely. Make sure you know the effects of any drug before you drive.
Communicate with other drivers – in almost half of all motorcycle collisions the motorist is at fault, not the motorcyclist.
- Other drivers need to see you and know if you are planning to turn or change lanes.
- Always use your indicators to signal lane changes, and make eye contact with other drivers.
- Check over your shoulder often to make sure other drivers are not crowding you.
- Use your horn if necessary.
Maintain proper lane position
- The centre of the lane is not a good position because it may be coated with oil from other vehicles and gets slippery when wet.
- In the right lane, you should be slightly to the left of centre, and in the passing lane you should be slightly to the right of the centre. This provides good visibility and blocks other vehicles from trying to squeeze by you in the same lane.
- Move into the blocking position in your new lane when making left or right turns.
Keep a cushion of space around you
- Always leave a cushion of space around your motorcycle to let other drivers see you and to avoid a collision.
- Keep alert for all other traffic, including vehicles in front, behind, coming toward you and approaching from the side.
- Be aware of other vehicles passing you.
Always ride at a speed appropriate for road and weather conditions
- Speeding and loss of control are major causes of motorcycle collisions.
- Speeding in rain, decreased visibility or strong winds could cause you to lose control and crash.
- Watch for hazardous road conditions, including potholes, loose gravel, railroad tracks or fluid spills.
- Be especially careful around sharp turns and curves. Motorcyclists can misjudge curves and overshoot the road into the path of oncoming traffic.
Sharpen your riding skills
- A motorcycle skills course will enhance your skills.
- It’s important to be familiar with your motorcycle and how to react to problems.
- Practice counter steering and brake control in safe situations.
- Click here for a link to ministry-approved motorcycle training facilities.
- Refer to the Official Motorcycle Handbook for more safety tips.