Getting out on the open road for a motorcycle ride is something most riders look forward to every summer. It can be exciting, freeing and relaxing. Unfortunately, riding can also be dangerous.
People make mistakes and bad decisions when they get on the road. When these errors lead to a crash, the consequences can be devastating, particularly for someone on a motorcycle. So, who is responsible for motorcycle crashes? It depends on the cause of the crash.
Common causes of a motorcycle accident
- Impaired drivers – Drivers who are drunk, drugged, drowsy or distracted can all be impaired. Critical driving assets can be compromised, including a driver’s reflexes, visual perception and cognitive functions. Anyone who operates a car, truck or motorcycle in these conditions can be liable for any damage they wind up causing.
- Rear-ending riders – Rear-end collisions can cause severe injuries to someone on a bike. These accidents are often caused by drivers who are not paying attention or are following a rider too closely, both of which are dangerous – and avoidable – behaviours.
- Cutting off riders – Drivers can misjudge a motorcyclist’s speed because motorcycles are smaller, which makes it risky for a driver to pull out or turn left in front of a motorcycle. Further, a study revealed that drivers can experience inattentional blindness, which means they fail to see something in plain sight if they do not expect to see it. So, even if a driver looks at an oncoming motorcyclist, he or she may not see it and cut off the rider.
- Lane splitting – Motorcycles are smaller than cars and more nimble. Some riders take advantage of this by riding between two lanes of traffic in a practice called lane splitting. However, doing this in British Columbia is illegal, and it can be quite dangerous.
- Reckless operation – Speeding, driving too closely to others, weaving in and out of traffic and aggressive driving are all types of reckless driving. They can easily lead to accidents that injure drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians. Any motorist who engages in such behaviours can and should be accountable for the damages resulting from a crash.
Every person on Canadian roads has a duty to be safe. Whether they are operating a commercial truck, a passenger car or a motorcycle, drivers can cause catastrophic damage for which they can be liable.