Safety Tips for the Beginning of an Unusual ATV and Motorcycle Season

Has there ever been such an unusual start to the motorcycle and ATV seasons? Not only has the weather been unseasonably cool – snow in mid-April?? – but daily life has largely paused as a result of the spread of COVID-19. And yet, neither factor has stopped Ontario’s ATVers and motorcyclists from hopping on their vehicles and, as motorcycle accident lawyers feared, getting in serious accidents.

Three people, two adults and one youth, have already died in ATV accidents so far this year. At least one motorcyclist has also been killed, and several more have been seriously injured in crashes around the province. The accident surge forced the OPP to release statements to both groups of riders.

“With the size and horsepower of off-road vehicles having increased over the years, it is important that parents take research-backed manufacturers’ recommendations seriously to ensure children and youths are driving an off-road vehicle that is safe for their age, weight and skill level. Adult supervision is also recommended so that families can enjoy the sports and ride safely together,” reads a release from the OPP and the Ontario Federation of All-Terrain Vehicle Clubs (OFATV). “The OPP and OFATV cannot stress enough that driving free of alcohol and drugs and wearing a helmet during every ride will go a long way to keeping off-road vehicle drivers and their passengers safe.”

Although it is imperative during the COVID-19 pandemic to stay home and limit social interactions wherever possible, it may be appropriate to ride your ATV in certain situations. If you must ride your ATV this spring, adhere as closely as possible to the ATV Safety Institute’s golden rules:

  • Always wear approved safety equipment, including helmet, goggles, gloves, over the ankle boots, etc.
  • Never ride on paved roads where it is not permitted by law.
  • Never ride after using drugs or alcohol
  • Never carry more passengers than an ATV is designed for
  • Always ride a vehicle that is designed for your age and size
  • Always ride at a safe speed and on designated trails
  • If you are under 16, do not ride alone

For motorcyclists, the rules have changed this spring. April and May are no longer an appropriate time to begin touring or riding recreationally. The only motorcycles the OPP wants to see on the province’s roads are those used for essential travel.

“Just because motorcycle season is here, it does not change the obligation we all have right now to stay at home as much as possible,” said OPP Chief Superintendent and Commander of the Highway Safety Division Rohan Thompson, in a release. “For those who do use motorcycles for essential travel, the last thing they should do is take extra risks because of lighter traffic or out of worry that they may not get much recreational riding in this season. As we all try to get through the tough weeks ahead, we expect no less than safe, defensive driving on the part of Ontario motorcyclists and other drivers.”

Twenty-seven motorcyclists perished on OPP-patrolled roads last year, and 178 died between 2015 and 2019. As motorcycle accident lawyers know, motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to serious injuries. They are more difficult to see than full-size vehicles and have significantly less protection.

With that in mind, motorcyclists on the road for essential travel this spring are reminded to take the following precautions:

  • Always wear bright, highly visible clothing
  • Position yourself properly on the road
  • Avoid riding in low light or at night wherever possible
  • Don’t take chances or make risky maneuvers, even if the streets are less busy than usual
  • Ride at an appropriate speed – don’t exceed the posted limit or move significantly faster than the vehicles around you
  • Always wear a helmet, gloves, and other protective equipment
  • Never, ever ride your motorcycle after consuming drugs or alcohol

As the COVID-19 lockdown drags on, road safety experts are hoping to see fewer serious accidents and deaths on Ontario’s roads. However, even a substantial reduction in traffic hasn’t prevented collisions from happening. By following the safety tips listed above, the motorcycle accident lawyers at Will Davidson LLP hope that you will contribute to a safer Ontario during these unusual times.

If you or a member of your family have been injured in an ATV or motorcycle accident, contact Will Davidson LLP today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of ATV and motorcycle accident lawyers will happily review your case and provide guidance and advice as you proceed with your claim.

As always, Will Davidson LLP is accepting new clients amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Our team is working diligently on existing cases and is available to discuss questions or concerns at any time. Contact us today to learn how we can help or how your case is proceeding.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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