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Ottawa Accident Lawyers Discusses the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Riding a motorcycle can provide many joys and freedoms but when accidents occur, the costs are significant. A motorcycle accident can be fatal or result in a permanent disability. It can cause chronic pain and affect your ability to work. If your situation is more fortunate, you may have walked away from an accident with no injuries or few injuries that will heal. Learning about the causes of motorbike accidents may help you in taking further precautions.

Inherent Risks of Motorcycling

Many reasons explain why motorcyclists are quite vulnerable on the road. Motorcycles are much smaller, weigh significantly less than cars and trucks and they afford few physical protections. Motorbikes lack a protective shell, seat belts, and air bags that protect others involved in motor vehicle accidents. At best, the motorcyclist is protected by a safe helmet and leather apparel to protect his body, arms & legs. It provides additional protection to drive a motorcycle with good brakes that is mechanically sound.

Another factor that makes motorcyclists vulnerable on the road is the need to focus and operate many features of the bike at once which require full concentration. A motorcyclist needs to steer, use body weight to balance and take turns, use the front and rear brakes independently, while operating the gas and gear shifts. There are multiple secondary controls to operate as well, including the lights and horn and you must be able to drive the vehicle in reverse, including getting out of the way from the path of an oncoming car if you overshot where you need to stop at the intersection. The chances of having a fatal accident are considerably greater for motorcyclists than drivers of other motor vehicles.

Road Design and Road Hazards

Road design and road hazards add further problems for motorcyclist drivers. Safe road designs are made with car drivers in mind and they require that road users have sufficient time to be able to see, process and react to information. The standards are more critical for motorcyclists as they typically need more reaction time and can make errors more easily. Some of the most common road design problems include:

  • Lack of appropriate warning
  • Blind corner
  • Glare from poorly sited street lights
  • Poor sight lines
  • Speed bumps
  • Poor delineation of vehicle path
  • Barrier curbing
  • Low curbing
  • Cobble stones or pavers
  • Landscaping
  • Traffic islands that are poorly visible at night
  • Culverts
  • Uncovered drainage pits

Some of the road hazards motorcyclists face include:

    • Potholes
    • Debris, unexpected irregularities, objects or dead animals on the road
    • Slick pavement conditions
    • Uneven heights between lanes

Lack of Awareness/Visibility

Lack of awareness of the motorcyclist is the most common reason cited by other drivers for motorbike accidents. Greater driver education and driver attention for all drivers is needed. Riding in groups may also help to reduce risks, but groups are not as easy to coordinate. Bright, reflective and colourful protective gear may help to reduce the risk of accidents to some extent.

Increasing Numbers of Road Users and Rising Traffic
Sheer volume of road users may also be increasing motorbike accidents. Using a motorcycle to commute for work may add to a motorcyclist’s dangers. With more road users there is a greater ratio of cars/trucks to motorcycles. Many motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, in head on collisions, from cars making left turns and from motorcyclists’ road splitting. Additionally, with more road users, drivers may employ aggressive driving in free areas to compensate for lost time in traffic.

High Performance Motorcycles, Age, Speed and Alcohol Use

The risk of accidents is greater for some motorcyclists more than others, especially for males as they are the predominant riders. Those who purchase sport and super sport high-horsepower motorcycles are able to travel up to 250 km per hour, which adds enticement to speed. Drivers of sport motorcycles tend to be under age 34 and drivers of super sport motorcycles tend to be under age 30, which adds risks since younger motorcycle riders are less experienced and tend to be less cautious and take more risks than older riders. Speed and/or alcohol is also a factor in many motorcycle accidents.

Mechanical Failure

Motorcycle accidents can occur from mechanical failure. The motorcycle and/or its equipment may be defective in its design, manufacturing, or assembly. Certain defects can cause a motorcycle to go into a high speed wobble, causing the handlebars to rock back and forth, and knock the fuel tank. Other defects can cause problems with the rear tire and result in a motorcyclist weaving and losing control.

Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

At Howard Yegendorf & Associates, we have Ottawa accident lawyers dedicated to aggressively defending your rights. We have successfully settled many motorcycle accidents. We have earned respect from many insurance companies, other defendants faced in the courtroom, and the gratitude of countless clients. Our team of accident lawyers understand that you have endured hardship and are here to help you rebuild your life. Contact us at Howard Yegendorf & Associates in Ottawa today for a free consultation.