Motorcyclists – and motorcycle accident lawyers – understand that there is an inherent risk to sharing Ontario’s streets with larger vehicles. When collisions between motorcycles and cars or trucks occur, motorcyclists are at a significantly higher risk of serious injury. Indeed, a recent spate of motorcycle fatalities across the province – including four deaths in London this month, and the recent death of a Toronto paramedic and his partner in Haliburton County – have brought motorcycle safety into focus.
Motorcycle accident lawyers were busy in 2016, which was a dangerous but not anomalous year for Ontarian motorcycle enthusiasts. Thirty-three people lost their lives in 749 collisions, according to the Ontario Provincial Police, up from 31 in 2015 and 32 in 2014. Towards the start of the decade, as few as 21 fatalities were recorded in a single year.
In an interview with the CBC, OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor summed up the danger that motorcyclists face in Ontario, saying “regardless if you’re in the right or the wrong, if you’re in a collision on a bike, you are going to be at the receiving end of serious injuries and or death.”
With that in mind, is there anything law enforcement, motorcycle accident lawyers, and other stakeholders can do to improve motorcyclists’ safety on Ontarian roads? Some experts believe the province’s licensing process may need to be updated.
In Ontario, individuals 16 or older who pass a written traffic safety test are able to drive any motorcycle up to 80 km/h during the day. No road training or road test is required.
“People can actually get on the very largest motorcycle sold out there on the strength of a written test,” said Don Redekop, Executive Director of the Learning Curves Foundation, to the CBC.
“I would like to see more training on the street earlier,” Redekop continued. “Right now we have a time delay system, which in itself is good, certain privileges are earned.”
Another option could be to follow a licensing process common in Europe wherein a person’s age dictates the sort of motorcycles they are permitted to ride. Novice riders start on smaller bikes and graduate to larger ones as they gain experience. Keeping inexperienced riders off of powerful motorcycles could help limit catastrophic injuries, as could safety courses like Gearing Up, which is offered by Canada Safety Council.