Driver and motorcyclist safety reminders
Monday, July 10, 2017 - 12:23 PM
Traffic Services: 416-808-1900
Improving road safety and traffic flow for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists is one of our goals in support of the Service priority and commitment to safe communities and neighbourhoods.
This initiative also supports a component of the City of Toronto – Vision Zero Road Safety Plan. Vision Zero is a comprehensive five-year (2017-2021) action plan focused on reducing traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto's streets. The plan prioritizes the safety of our most vulnerable road-users, through a range of initiatives.
Since January 1, 2017, the Toronto Police Service has recorded 191 motorcycle-involved collisions. Toronto Police Service Traffic Services would like to remind both car drivers and motorcycle riders to exercise caution when operating their vehicles to help reduce collisions and save lives.
Motorcycle rider safety tips
1) Take a course: it’s important for you to learn how to drive a motorcycle safely and to be evaluated by an instructor. Your skill-set will develop as you learn to control the motorcycle. The motorcycle shouldn’t control you.
2) Make sure you have proper riding gear: a helmet is required by law, but riders should also think of wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, ankle boots and a jacket (even when it’s hot outside). Riding in the sun constantly drains you, and you should think about reducing road rash in case of a fall.
3) Make yourself visible: many collisions are caused by a motor vehicle turning into the path of a motorcycle driver. You want other drivers to see you. Wear a reflective vest or contrasting colours and continually try to make eye contact with drivers to be sure they’re aware of you.
4) Slow down: most fatal collisions are caused by excessive speed. Motorcycles are unstable vehicles and they have a limited grip on the road. You don’t want to lose control with excessive speed, especially around a turn.
5) Don’t ride impaired: you shouldn’t ride a motorcycle or drive a vehicle after drinking alcohol or consuming drugs, and you shouldn’t ride when you’re tired. You need 100 per cent of your attention and focus when operating a motorcycle.
6) Ride with a buddy: riding with friends allows you to occupy a full lane. This increases your visibility and you can keep an eye on one another if something goes wrong.
7) Make sure your motorcycle is properly maintained: check your vehicle frequently for general maintenance and problems. Tire pressure is especially important. The contact patches of your tires are about the size of a footprint. This small area is all that keeps you on the road. Any problems with tire pressure can be dangerous.
8) Communicate with other drivers: attempt to make eye contact with other drivers, making sure they’re aware of you and your movements. Consider using hand signals prior to turning or changing lanes as indicator lights on motorcycles are very small. Also, if you’re comfortable with a specific group of cars, stay with them.
9) Scan the road: many collisions are caused when cars turn into the path of motorcycles or come out of driveways. If you’re aware of what’s happening around you, you can avoid dangerous situations. Your head should be moving, checking your mirrors, and your eyes constantly scanning the road when riding on a motorcycle.
10) Refresh your skills: no matter how long you have been riding, you will be rusty after a few months. Your skills and association with a motorcycle deteriorate quickly when not riding, even for a short period of time. Take a refresher course if it’s been a while since you’ve ridden. Ask yourself, can I improve? Am I the best and safest driver I can be?
Car driver safety tips for motorcycles
Here are some general rules to keep in mind the next time you share the road with motorcycles.
1) Follow the five-second rule: increase your driving distance when you find yourself behind a motorcycle and maintain a space or distance equivalent to at least five seconds.
2) Adjust your driving for poor or inclement weather: inclement weather is even more hazardous for a motorcycle rider than it is for a car driver. If a motorcycle is ahead of you, anticipate the rider might face challenges that you may not give them extra space.
3) Look before you turn: most often, when a vehicle makes a left or right turn, and is involved in a collision, the driver often states they did not see the motorcyclist. The reality is they should have. Take a second or third look before making that turn. Adjust your turn so you can see past any obstructions preventing you from making sure the road is clear. As drivers, you are responsible for all movements made by your vehicle.
3) Check your blind spots often: since motorcycles are much smaller than cars, it's that much easier for them to slip into your blind spot - especially when they're attempting to pass you. Don’t be a lazy driver. Check your blind spots regularly and, in particular, before starting a lane change.
4) Be a co-operative driver: this tip goes for all kinds of safe driving. Just be courteous. All road-users make mistakes. Don’t make a mistake that will cost someone their life. Communicating with other road-users so both your actions and theirs will be known, helps reduce the chances of a collision.
Safe operation, regardless of the type of vehicle a person operates, is critical to the safety of all road-users. Together we can make the roads safer by following all the rules.
For more news, visit TPSnews.ca.
Constable Caroline de Kloet, Corporate Communications, for Constable Clint Stibbe, Traffic Services