Motorcycle Safety for Women who ride

Posted by Injury Lawyers of Ontario on July 17, 2017

On September 15, 2016, a 61-year-old Kitchener woman tragically died when her motorcycle collided with a dump truck on Dumfries Road, near Cambridge, Ontario.  Waterloo Regional Police believed that the dump truck, which was travelling in the opposite direction as the motorcycle, was turning into a driveway and into the path of the motorcycle, when the two vehicles collided.  The truck driver faced a number of charges in connection with the accident, including careless driving and unsafe turning.

One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents results when cars or trucks turn or travel through an intersection without being aware of, or watching for, a motorcycle.  As there are far more motorcycles on Ontario roads during the summer months, other drivers are urged to watch out for these more vulnerable road users, particularly at intersections on the highways. 

Today, many older Canadians are taking up motorcycling.  Unfortunately, because older riders generally have slower reflexes, poorer eyesight and more brittle bones, the risk of being seriously injured in a crash is significantly greater than it is for younger riders.  Of course, accident avoidance is desirable at any age, but the need for caution and safe practices is even greater as we get older.

More woman are also riding motorcycles than ever before. In 2016, the Motorcycle Industry Council reported that the number of female motorcyclists increased by 50 percent over the last 10 years. Today, about 25 per cent of all riders are woman and in the U.S., women own 12-14 per cent of motorcycles.

With the increase in female riders, there are a now a number of established women’s motorcycle clubs and associations that provide resources and opportunities to get together for female riders.  One of the key messages put out by motorcycle associations is “share the road”, which calls on both motorcycle riders and other drivers to stay in their lane, and always be attentive and on the lookout for other road users.

Safety tips for female riders are, in most regards, no different than for male riders. Most importantly, inexperienced riders should take a motorcycle course and practice their skills; wear the right protective gear; drive at a safe speed; and always ride defensively, watching well-ahead for potential hazards and unexpected traffic situations. 

However, due to the smaller stature of many female riders, women should pay particular attention to the size and features of a motorbike they are riding or considering purchasing, as some features impact safety for a rider, particularly for a more petite person.

When buying a bike, look for one that really fits your size.  A bike with lower seat heights and a narrower seat is important, as it allows a smaller person to have their feet flat on the ground and provides more control.  The bike should be easy to mount and dismount; and bikes that feel too heavy, probably are too heavy and should be avoided.  Also, a rider should be able to easily reach the handlebars and controls of their bike. Finally, anti-lock brakes have been proven to save lives and are definitely a good investment, regardless if you are a female or male rider.

The first ever women’s motorcycle rally in Eastern Canada was held in New Brunswick in June 2016, and safety was the dominant topic.  There were a number of fatal motorcycle accidents in the months prior to the event, including a female motorcyclist who died after crashing near Monkton in May 2016.  With these recent and tragic accidents in mind, there was much discussion about the importance of proper gear as well as issues around passenger safety.

At Injury Lawyers of Ontario, we have successfully represented many motorcycle riders who were injured by a negligent driver.  If you were injured and would like to commence a claim for your losses, call a Kitchener motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss the particulars of your case and find out about your best options for obtaining a fair settlement.

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