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Motorcycle riders have crucial road safety role


Motorcyclists are often not visible to other vehicles on the road, so riders should be sure to take extra precautions to ensure their own safety, Ottawa personal injury lawyer Howard Yegendorf tells CTV News Ottawa.

As motorcycle riders are less protected than those driving a car, Yegendorf, a founding partner with Howard Yegendorf & Associates LLP, explains that the injuries they sustain in an accident are often serious or even catastrophic.

“Safety is key, because I can tell you, from the vast majority of cases where I’ve seen somebody get hurt in a motorcycle accident, the driver of the car or the truck is at fault. In the vast majority of cases. And invariably, that driver says, ‘I never saw him,’ because motorcyclists are just not visible to a lot of people, particularly early in the season, April, May, where you haven’t seen motorcycles for a number of months during the winter.

“So motorcycle riders have to think about visibility, they actually have to think about things like lane positioning, putting yourself in the lane in the most visible spot. A driver of a car never even thinks about that.”

In addition, he says, motorcyclists should be sure to wear high-visibility clothing and white or yellow helmets. Riders can also consider taking safety courses offered by a number of organizations.

For a motorcyclist who has been in an accident, Yegendorf tells viewers that two types of insurance come into play.

“If the other party’s at fault, then it’s the other party’s third-party liability insurance, and there’s also statutory accident benefits from your own insurer,” he explains.

As an example, he says, “If you and I have an accident, you’re the at-fault driver of the car, I’ve been injured as a motorcyclist, there’s serious injuries and I have a $2 million claim against you for injuries, loss of income, cost of future care, as an example. You only have $1 million of insurance, so where do I get my second $1 million? Well, if I have $2 million of insurance, then I can go after my own insurance company for that other $1 million.”

At the very least, Yegendorf recommends motorcycle riders have $2 million of primary insurance.

When it comes to statutory accident benefits, however, Yegendorf explains that coverage was cut on June 1 from the previous maximum of $1 million of medical rehabilitation benefits coverage plus $1 million of attendant care coverage to the new combined maximum of $1 million.

Yegendorf recommends motorcyclists restore their coverage to $2 million through optional benefits.

“If you’re riding a motorcycle you don’t want to ride scared, but you want to ride prepared and you should definitely get that optional benefit to restore the $2 million of coverage.”