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Study Brings Driver Attitudes Toward Bikers Into Sharp Focus

Jeffrey S. Witten, B.A., LL.B.
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Personal Injury Lawyer at McComb Witten Marcoux

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An important study done by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, a Canadian research group, looked at motorcycle safety in Canada and the attitudes of drivers who share the road with bikes. The study was important because it went beyond the typical motorcycle crash statistics and focused in on what drivers think about motorcyclists—an important factor when considering how to keep bikers safe.

The study showed that:

  • Study participants perceived riding a motorcycle to be less risky than impaired driving, failing to stop at red lights, and speeding excessively.
  • Motorcyclists do not travel over the posted speed limit more than auto drivers do.
  • As rates of motorcycle use increase in Canada, so do the rates of motorcycle fatalities.
  • The most risky age group for speeding-related motorcycle fatalities are riders ages 45 to 54.
  • In Canada, only 3.1 percent of motorcycle riders do not wear a helmet on a regular basis.
  • The phenomenon where motorists "just didn't see" the motorcycle they hit was attributed to motorcycles having a smaller profile than cars and trucks and the fact that motorcycles are not a terribly common sight on Canadian roadways—only 2 percent of all registered vehicles in our roads are motorcycles.

What We Can All do to Prevent Motorcycle Accidents in Vancouver

First and foremost, if you are driving a car, you must take care to look for motorcycles in traffic. This is especially true at intersections and when changing lanes, as these accidents account for the majority of car/motorcycle accidents. It can help to think of the mantra, "Watch for motorcycles" each time you drive.

For bikers, the advice is not new, but it bears repeating: drive defensively each time you hit the road. With the vast majority of drivers failing to look out for your bike, you must never assume that a car or truck has seen you. Always assume the drivers around you are unaware that you are sharing the road with them.

At McComb Witten, we hope for the day when drivers respect bikers and motorcycle injury and fatality rates in Canada fall. Until then, please be careful out there.

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Category: Motorcycle Accidents


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