Motorcyclists can help protect themselves from reckless motorists

This time of year, motorcyclists all over British Columbia are getting their bikes ready to cruise our roads. While motorcyclists suffer from the stigma of being reckless, in fact, the main cause of accidents involving motorcycles in BC is motorists' failure to yield when the motorcyclist has the right-of-way.

Regardless of who is at fault in a motorcycle/car accident, the motorcyclist is usually the one who emerges with the most serious injuries. Too often, they don't survive at all. That's why it's essential that motorcyclists take precautions to avoid accidents and to minimize injuries if they are in an accident.

First, it helps to dress properly. Follow the helmet laws. Under BC law, all motorcyclists and their passengers must wear helmets that meet the designated safety standards. You should also wear clothing made of strong material like Kevlar to help protect you in case of a fall. It's also essential to wear clothing that is reflective or at least is brightly colored to make you more visible to others on the road.

Try to avoid areas where you could be in a driver's blind spot or hit if you or others have to suddenly stop. Stay in open areas on the road as much as possible. It's generally best to stay on the outer edge of your lane so that you can get off the road easily if necessary. Always try to have an exit strategy if something unexpected happens.

When you're approaching an off-ramp, watch for drivers who may be suddenly crossing several lanes to get to it.

Be sure to use your signals to let others on the road what you plan to do. On that same note, once you've turned or changed lanes, make sure that your signal is off. We've all seen drivers traveling down the road with a turn signal on for miles. Not only can that be confusing and frustrating -- it can be dangerous.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident where a motorist was at fault, it's essential to seek the guidance of a BC lawyer experienced in handling motorcycle accident cases. He or she can work to seek the compensation you need for medical treatment, lost wages and other damages.

Source: TranBC, "10 Motorcycle Safety Tips to Keep You on the Road," accessed April 28, 2016

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