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Motorcycle fatalities are often the result of another drivers’ negligence

In June of 2015, there were a series of tragic motorcycle crashes that resulted in a number of fatalities and severely injured victims in the Port Hope area.  In the same time period, two brothers in their twenties had a catastrophic crash while riding their dirt bikes in Clarington, resulting in the death of one and severe injuries for the other.  Like cyclists and dirt bikes, motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to injury from collisions.  In decades past, motorcycling was a past-time largely engaged in by young men, but this is no longer true.  Motorcycles are increasingly popular among an older and well-established population.

In 2012, motorcyclists accounted for 8.4 per cent of accident fatalities and 11.7 per cent of serious injuries in Canada, according to Transport Canada.  Motorcycle riders are at great risk of catastrophic injury or death when accidents occur. In 80 per cent of motorcycle accidents, the rider is injured or killed.

In 2014, there was a seven year high in motorcycle fatalities but OPP deputy commissioner Brad Blair was quoted as saying that motorcyclists in general are aware that they are a vulnerable road user and demonstrate safe and defensive driving, with the exception of a careless minority.  Drivers from 45 to 64 accounted for about half the fatalities in these collisions.  Further OPP findings released from a ten year study of vehicle crashes reports that about one third of motorcycle accidents result from the negligence of another driver, and the motorcyclist did not in any way contribute to these accidents.

Local motorcycle accidents result in injury

In June of 2014, A 63 year old Port Hope man was seriously injured when his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck in Oshawa.  The Port Hope man was rushed by air ambulance to a Toronto area trauma centre.  The 24 year old driver of the pickup truck was unharmed in the accident.  

As part of the Heroes Highway Ride event, a father and son were riding on a motorcycle on Highway 401 near Cobourg, Ontario, when their motorcycle crashed.  They were believed to have suffered only minor injuries, however, the son was transported to the hospital for medical assessment.

A third accident occurred in June in Prince Edward County when a Mazda Miata crossed into the opposing lane of Loyalist Parkway and struck three motorcycles that were travelling in the opposite direction.  The Mazda collided head on with the motorcyclists, resulting in the tragic death of a 46 year old and 58 year old motorcycle rider at the scene.  Another motorcyclist, as well as the driver and passenger of the Mazda (both seniors), were transported to hospital with serious to life threatening injuries. The three motorcyclists were travelling in a group of eight riders who were attending a weekend rally of 1st Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Unit.   Both fatalities were fathers; one was a grandfather as well.

Earlier in the spring of 2015, another man experienced life threatening injuries and later died, after a crash with Jeep near Gores Landing north of Port Hope.  The motorcycle was travelling north while the Jeep was eastbound when it struck the cyclist at an intersection.  In this case, as with many others, the driver of the car that struck the motorcycle was uninjured.  Investigators remained to determine whether the collision occurred when the motorcyclist was cut off or for another reason. 

Defensive driving is crucial for motorcyclist safety

Motorcycles provide little protection, so cyclists need to wear protective gear, including helmets, protective clothing, glasses and appropriate footwear.  Motorcyclists need to be especially watchful of the traffic around them, and take particular care when making turns or driving on a loose surface.  They also need to anticipate other drivers’ actions and be prepared to take defensive action.  One of the many reasons for extra caution is that a significant number of accidents occur when another driver turns into the path of a motorcycle.  Also, more than other drivers, motorcyclists need to adjust their speed and driving in inclement weather.    Impaired driving is a factor in many motorcycling accidents, but driving sober is essential in successfully and safely maneuvering these vehicles, as well as being the lawful choice.

Types of injuries

The most common injury for motorcycle riders is a fracture, particularly to the leg which is typically pinned under their cycle as it slides down.   They also frequently fracture their wrist and/or arm as they use them to break their fall.  Motorcyclists who do not wear protective gear are susceptible to road rash, which may be mild or quite severe, depending on the circumstances of the accident and road surface.  In a severe case, the entire layer of skin is removed, exposing bone and underlying tissue.  Head injury, which includes brain injury, is the most frequent cause of death and permanent disability for riders and is tragically fairly common in motorcycle crashes.

Claiming for injury compensation

Certainly there are some motorcycle accidents that result from careless or aggressive driving; however, in many cases, the fault in a motorcycle collision does not rest on the motorcyclist.  When a car or truck collides with a motorcycle, the injuries to the rider are typically devastating.  In two thirds of multiple vehicle accidents involving a motorcycle, another driver violated the motorcyclist’s right of way and thus caused the accident.  The most frequent accident configuration occurs when another vehicle makes a left turn in front of the motorcycle while the latter is travelling straight, leaving them little or no time to react.  This danger and the cause of many motorcycle accidents mirrors the circumstances surrounding accidents involving cyclists.  Other motorists do not see or pay attention to these smaller vehicles, and their negligence may result in catastrophic injuries for the cyclist or motorcyclist.

The Personal Injury Lawyers of Ontario (ILO) law team have a record of success in representing motorcyclists and their families who were severely injured due to the negligence of others.  We will assist you in your claim for fair compensation through your accident insurance policy and also fight for your rights for damages through a ‘tort’ action claim (i.e. suing the negligent party).

In addition to dealing with the trauma of life-altering injuries or a wrongful death, accident victims and their loved ones require compensation for lost income (both past and future), medical expenses not covered by OHIP, family incidental expenses, pain and suffering, and other costs arising from the accident. Our staff advises and supports our clients from the beginning of your claims process until the end when you receive the settlement you are owed.  Call the Port Hope ILO team for a consultation today.


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