Motorcycle Laws in Ontario

by | Mar 19, 2016 | Vehicle Accidents

Motorcycle Laws in Ontario

I purchased my first motorcycle at age 15 on a beginner’s driver’s license. How the times have changed in respect to laws and attitudes towards motorcycling. One myth about motorcycling that has persisted is that motorcyclists are at fault for most of the accidents that occur as between motorcycles and other automobiles and travelers.

The fact is that studies have confirmed that in the overwhelming majority of cases, the motorcyclists are not at fault.In addition, studies and research reveal that the vast majority of accidents occur at intersections where the other motorists fail to yield the right of way to the motorcyclist.

As a Trial Lawyer for well over forty years, I have represented countless numbers of innocent motorcycle accident victims with claims for compensation arising out of such accidents. Following such accidents, the investigating police officer is required to take a statement from the persons involved in the accident. These statements are taken immediately after the accident and can have very significant consequences in any lawsuit for compensation. We have an at-fault system. Any degree of fault attributed to the motorcyclist reduces the damages (compensation) by the persons at fault.

There are two common “mistakes” that I see repeated in the motorcyclist’s statement to police. These mistakes often give rise to the at fault insurer (lawyer) attempting to partially blame the motorcyclist for the accident. The first is the use of the common motorcyclist phrase…“I laid my bike down”.While the phrase implies something was done deliberately to avoid an imminent collision, it also implies that the front brake was not fully engaged when trying to avoid the collision. The problem is that the insurance company’s lawyer takes hold of this phrase and suggests that the motorcyclist did not apply full front and back braking and argues the motorcyclist did not take all reasonable steps to avoid the collision. Of course in the agony of the moment of a collision, you rely on instinct (the combination of experience and learning) to try and avoid the collision.You can effectively turn the front wheel of a motorcycle with the brake fully applied (if applied, both brakes would likely skid upright) and then it is often appropriate to turn hard and brake.

Nonetheless, the insurance company does not need this ammunition. My tip is to avoid any complex answer. The simple statement would be … “I saw the vehicle entering into my right of way and I turned and braked to avoid the collision”. I suggest the “laid down” phrase be avoided.

The second common phrase I hear from a motorcyclist is “The other vehicle came from nowhere” and then you braked or turned in an effort to avoid a collision.Vehicles do not drop from the sky. The phrase implies that the motorcyclist failed to keep a proper lookout even though they had the right of way, any motorist has the responsibility to keep a proper look out.I hear or read this phrase when the motorcyclist has taken evasive action (thus he did observe the at-fault motorist) but the phrase “The vehicle came from nowhere.” implies that the motorcyclist did not see him until it was too late.

Again the tip is to keep it simple. The statement should be: “You saw the vehicle entering into your right of way and tried to avoid it.”Just keep it simple!

If you, or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident and have questions regarding legal issues surrounding the accident, call us at 1-905-525-2341


Personal Injuries at Provincial Campgrounds

Personal Injuries in Provincial Parks – do you know what to do if you get hurt at a provincially run campground this summer? And what about deadlines? Learn who’s accountable and how quickly you need to consult with a lawyer.

Suing for Whiplash – A Pain in the Neck

Whiplash is perhaps the most common injury associated with auto collisions. But many insurance companies are suspicious of whiplash claims and will do anything to deny payment. Read the full article to learn more.

Personal Injury Claims & Social Media

Don’t Self-Sabotage on Social Media – the defence is looking to discredit you, and you might be giving them everything they need. Use social media responsibly during your trial so that your posts can’t be used against you – read the full article to learn more.

Slips, Trips & Falls – Business vs Private Residence

Where you had your accident can matter as much as why you got hurt. The Occupier’s Liability Act holds businesses and homes to different standards. Find out how this could affect your case, read the full article to learn more.

Bicycle Accidents and Personal Injuries

Cyclists assume way more risk than drivers. And if the two ever collide, the cyclist’s injuries could be serious and permanent. If you’ve been hurt in an accident involving a car or truck read the full article to learn more.

Loss of Limb – Potential Impacts to Lawsuit

The nature and severity of amputation make it unique among personal injury claims. Make sure you’re taking everything into consideration before submitting your claim – read the full article to learn more.

Dangerous Street Racing & Stunt Driving – Personal Injury Lawsuits

We’re already sharing the road with self-driving cars. But who’s at fault when they get involved in accidents that cause injuries to other drivers? And can you sue? Read the full article to learn more..

Personal Injury and the Canada Revenue Agency

If you win a personal injury lawsuit in Ontario, how much will you lose in taxes? How do you hold onto it and keep it out of the hands of the taxman? Click here to learn about tax-free structured annuities.

Autonomous Driving Accidents & Personal Injury

We’re already sharing the road with self-driving cars. But who’s at fault when they get involved in accidents that cause injuries to other drivers? And can you sue? Read the full article to learn more..

Personal Injury Claims & Accidents Involving Uber or Lyft Drivers

When ridesharing becomes accident-sharing – who’s responsible for injuries when Lyft and Uber drivers are involved in a crash? For simple answers to this complex and complicated question, click here for our comprehensive guide to ridesharing injuries.