Autumn is a great time for getting the motorcycle out for a road trip. However, because of the vulnerability of being in an open and unprotected vehicle, there is risk of serious injury in a collision. Injuries can include spinal and muscle damage, road rash, traumatic brain injury and even death.

A study in 2017 reported that motorcycles account for 10% of all motor vehicle deaths in Ontario (even though motorcycles make up only 2% of vehicles on the road) and cost the health care system six times the amount of car crashes. While car safety has improved with rates of severe injuries and deaths decreasing significantly over many years, injuries from motorcycle crashes have remained stable or even worsened. In 2022, there were 44 motorcycle fatalities in Ontario.  The Ontario Provincial Police West Region stated in 2022 that the number of motorcycle-related deaths nearly doubled compared to 2021. The majority of the accidents were caused by distracted drivers and excessive speeds.

In Ontario, motorcycle insurance is mandatory (required by law) for any motorcycle operated on the roadway. Mandatory motorcycle insurance includes third party liability, which protects you from being held personally liable for damage you might cause to other persons and/or their property. The legal minimum coverage of $200,000 is not adequate protection. Most people have policies with at least $1 million. But increasing your third-party liability limits further, up to $2 million or more (for only a nominal premium increase) is strongly recommended.

Because injuries in a motorcycle accident are often serious, if another insured driver causes serious injury to you or a family member and they only have $1 million (or less) in liability insurance, you can access additional coverage from your own insurance company (up to your own liability limits) to be better protected for costs and care. Also, having higher liability limits will further protect you from personal liability.

Insurance coverage also includes accident benefits which compensate you for medical expenses, rehabilitation, funeral expenses and loss of income following a collision. Once again, given the added risk of injury in motorcycle accidents, it is advisable to increase your level of accident benefits coverage.

If you have been in a motorcycle collision, you may also have the right to sue a negligent driver.  You may have the right to compensation for pain and suffering if you suffered a “permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function,” according to the Insurance Act. This lawsuit would be in addition to any entitlement to accident benefits and may also seek compensation for healthcare expenses, income loss, housekeeping/home maintenance expenses and other losses.

Before you head out on the road on your motorcycle, talk to your insurance providers about increasing your accident benefits and liability coverage and make sure you understand what your coverage includes.

Also, protect yourself from motorcycle risks by using appropriate safety gear and being aware of changing weather and road conditions. Wear proper attire in changing weather to keep you warm. Be aware of roadway and pedestrian traffic.

Safety precautions and proper insurance are an essential part of ensuring that you and your family are entitled to care and compensation in the event of a motorcycle collision.

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This WARDS LAWYERS PC publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. Specific or more information may be necessary before advice could be provided for your particular circumstances.

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