While motorcycles only represent about three per cent of registered vehicles, Transport Canada reports they're involved in 10 per cent of road fatalities. All drivers have a responsibility to keep the roads safe. Cpl. Brian Johannson, who works with the Alberta RCMP motorcycle program, offers these safety tips for vehicle drivers and motorcycle riders.
Always wear a government-approved helmet, eye protection and gloves while riding a motorcycle. Motorcycle-specific protective clothing is recommended and match your gear to your riding type whether it be off-road trails or highway riding. "You don't want to be out there in a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops riding your motorcycle around," says Johannson.
Being aware of your surroundings is important when driving any vehicle, especially motorcycles. A bike's smaller size makes it harder for other drivers to see motorcycles on the road.
Avoid riding in a vehicle's blind spots and keep a safe distance.
Know your ability
Always ride within your limits. Practise on safe roadways away from high-traffic areas to build skills and confidence and avoid speeds and curves outside your ability.
If riding in groups, choose routes that the riders with the lowest skills can handle with confidence.
Consider registering for a government-approved motorcycle operating course to refresh your skills and stay up to date with the rules of the road.
Be on the lookout
In the summer months, always be aware that motorcycles can be on the roads. They can be on city streets, backroads and highways.
And even if it's raining, that doesn't mean riders won't be on the roads. Remember a motorcycle's single headlight can make them appear farther away in low-light conditions.
Look out at intersections
A motorcycle's smaller size means they can be harder to spot at intersections or hidden behind other vehicles. As with all driving, always ensure an intersection is clear before proceeding and be extra cautious when turning left. "I've been to numerous collisions where people didn't even notice the bike was there," says Johannson.
Tailgating and aggressive driving are always dangerous, especially when there's a motorcycle nearby. Always leave enough space between your vehicle and motorcycles.
And remember, motorcycles don't offer the same protections, like seatbelts and airbags, as conventional vehicles do.