Personal Injury

Be proactive when it comes to motorcycle safety: Cahill

By Tony Poland, Associate Editor

Common sense can go a long way to help prevent a motorcycle accident, says Toronto personal injury lawyer Paul Cahill.

“There are inherent risks associated with operating a motorcycle that can be reduced, but I don’t I don’t know if they’ll ever be eliminated,” says Cahill, a partner with Will Davidson LLP. “I think motorists have a hard time seeing motorcycles. They don’t take up as much space on the road and sometimes appear unexpectedly.

“Motorcycle accidents just seem to happen, but I think there are some things that people can do to improve their safety.”

In a 2017 study, researchers found motorcycles accounted for about 10 per cent of all motor vehicle deaths in Ontario despite making up only two per cent of vehicles on the road.

While rates of severe injuries and deaths from car crashes decreased significantly between 2007 and 2017, injuries from motorcycle crashes remained stable or got worse, according to researchers. They noted, each motorcycle crash in Ontario “causes 10 times the severe injuries, five times the deaths, and six times the medical costs of each automobile.”

Cahill tells that riders should be proactive when it comes to their well-being, and part of staying safe is “getting the right type of motorcycle suited to the user.”

“You don’t want to go out and get the fastest, most powerful motorcycle if you can’t handle it,” he says. “The same is true for cars. I see people who go out and buy sports cars and don’t really know how to drive them and end up getting in a car accident.

“When it comes to motorcycles, it’s good to start with something that you can handle and work yourself up to the more powerful bikes.”

Cahill says there’s no substitute for common sense when riding a motorcycle.

“Realize that other vehicles on the road may not be aware that you’re there, and drive defensively,” he says. “Don’t ride in bad weather, and try to optimize everything you can with things such as protective gear.”

Cahill says it’s important to realize that “You have to operate your motorcycle in a safe way, and if you are veering in and out of traffic, you greatly increase the risk of an accident.

“Being in a collision on a motorcycle is perhaps 10 times worse than if you were in a car,” he says. “The consequences can be much more severe.”

Cahill says recovery can be a long and expensive process, and knowing how to proceed to ensure you are getting the treatment you need can be confusing.

“If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s vital for you to reach out to a legal representative who can assist you with your injury claim,” he says. “There are certain notices that need to be given early on, and there are accident benefits that will be available to you. You need to know how to make use of those things as soon as possible.”

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