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