Tag Archives: motorcycle safety tips

Motorcycle Safety Series: Basic Maintenance – What to Check Before You Ride

Written By: Nick Todorovic and Courtney Stewart, Summer Student

 

Close-up of man testing motorbike brakes

Motorcycle season is finally getting into gear so it’s a great time to remind all riders of the importance of pre-ride checks. Pre-ride checks are a crucial step towards a safe ride and one that takes place before you even hit the road.

Most riders know that proper maintenance of your motorcycle is essential to avoiding potential safety risks and injury. But proper maintenance doesn’t just mean a few tune-ups a year. To ensure that your motorcycle is in prime riding condition proper maintenance should include regular pre-ride checks to inspect your bike and gear for any defects or wear that, left untended, could lead to inconvenient or dangerous problems.

Pre-ride checks can take as little as a minute to complete although more thorough checks should be done every few rides. Shorter pre-ride checks, which should happen before every single ride, should include checking that:

  • No fluids are pooling beneath your parked motorcycle
  • All nuts and bolts are present and correct
  • Cables are properly adjusted and lubed
  • Brakes, clutch and throttle are all operating smoothly and with the correct tension
  • Tires have good pressure and are free of punctures, cracks or dangerous wear
  • Lights and turn signals are working
  • Mirrors are adjusted properly

The T-CLOCS System – Check your tires, controls, lights, oil, chassis and stands

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends using the more thorough “T-CLOCS” system, which stands for “tires, controls, lights, oil, chassis and stands,” to remember some of the more important elements to inspect during your pre-ride check. Before going out on a ride it’s important to make sure these important elements on your bike are functioning properly and aren’t flat, frayed, cracked, leaking, loose or worn to a dangerous degree. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation provides a detailed, printable checklist on their website that explains specifically what to look for.

The T-CLOCS system recommends examining the following as part of your pre-ride check:

  • Tires and Wheels
    • Tires
    • Wheels
    • Brakes
  • Controls
    • Handlebars
    • Levers and Pedal
    • Cables
    • Hoses
    • Throttle
  • Lights and Electrics
    • Battery
    • Headlamp
    • Tail lamp/brake lamp
    • Turn signals
    • Switches
    • Mirrors
    • Lenses & Reflectors
    • Wiring
  • Oil and Other Fluids (hydraulic fluid, coolant and fuel)
    • Levels
    • Leaks
  • Chassis
    • Frame
    • Suspension
    • Chain or Belt
    • Fasteners
  • Stands
    • Centre stand
    • Side stand

Check Your Safety Gear Too

You should also include your safety gear when performing pre-ride checks. Your helmet, gloves, pants, jacket and footwear are all essential elements in reducing any potential injury following a motorcycle accident. Checking your gear regularly will make it more likely that they will actually protect you in the unfortunate event of an accident.

When examining your helmet make sure nothing is loose, cracked, broken or damaged and ensure that the foam and liner inside is comfortable and snug around your forehead, temples and the back of your head. Make sure you can still see clearly through your visor, and that any seals on your helmet are still intact. Also check to make sure that any chin straps haven’t frayed or broken.

Post-Ride is Another Great Time to Check Your Bike

You should also consider post-ride inspections to catch anything that might have come loose, started leaking or punctured your tires during your ride. Performing a post-ride check also gives you a chance to have any problems fixed before your next planned ride.

This is also a great time to give your bike a wipe-down or wash (after the engine has cooled) to prevent any grease or dirt from collecting and causing damage to the mechanics or body of your motorcycle.

Get to Know Your Motorcycle

Motorcycle tire repair

Pre-ride checks are a great way of getting to know how your motorcycle is meant to look and feel when it is functioning properly. The more familiar you are with how your bike looks in its prime, the better you’ll be at catching issues when they come up. You’ll be able to catch small, easily fixable problems before they become big, expensive or dangerous problems.

Many issues that could occur with your ride do not happen suddenly, but occur slowly, over time, such as leaking fluids or fraying cables. For example, if you regularly squeeze your brakes before turning on the engine you’ll know how they are meant to respond.

Regularly inspecting your motorcycle and gear for any defects before you go for a ride is an essential part of making sure that you, your passenger and those around you stay safe and have a great ride!

If you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident, contact one of the experienced critical injury lawyers at McLeish Orlando LLP for a free consultation.

 

Motorcycle Safety Series: Riding Gear – Protect Your Skin

By: Joseph Cescon and Bryan Sansom (Articling Student)

Blog 23 - motorcycle

Now that the warm weather has arrived, motorcyclists are hitting the road. While it’s a great time of year to ride your bike to work or cruise the countryside, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Spending time and money on proper safety gear isn’t an exciting part of riding a motorcycle, but it will help protect you and may even save your life. Motorcycle crash injuries are on the rise in Canada, with more than 1,600 injuries in British Columbia last year.

Helmets are the most critical piece of riding equipment. There are four types of helmets acceptable for motorcycle riding: Full-face, Modular (flip), Half, and Shorty styles. Every rider has a preference as to what style they like. However, riders should know that nearly 50% of all blows to the head sustained by motorcyclists impact the facial and jaw area. In other words, a helmet that offers full-face coverage is your best bet.

Your helmet should be in a good state of repair and meet at the minimum safety requirements as set out in the Ontario Safety Helmets Regulation under the Highway Traffic Act. In Canada, you must also wear a helmet that is certified by the Canadian Standards Association, the Snell Memorial Foundation, the British Standards Institute, the United States Department of Transportation, or the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

Regardless of the type of helmet you wear, be sure that it fits and has a functioning strap that you can properly secure.

A proper riding jacket can be a motorcycle-specific jacket, or a rugged garment made of leather or a synthetic material like ballistic nylon. Motorcycle specific gear is ideal as it often has integrated body armour. Materials such as standard nylon or lightweight cotton are not going to protect you if you fall.

Riding pants and gloves should be made from a similar type of durable material. According to the Transport Research Library in the U.S., if you fall off your motorcycle the tarmac will shred through denim in less than a second at 80km/h. Consequently, the damage to your skin and other tissues can be extensive if you are not properly protected.

Not only is choosing the right material for your apparel important, but the fit is crucial as well. Proper fit will allow you to stay warm and dry, and not billow or tug at high speeds.

Proper riding gear should also keep you visible to other motorists. Bright or fluorescent colours are ideal during the day, and reflective elements in the dark.

You should wear a motorcycle-specific pair of boots, or a pair of boots made from the rugged material mentioned above. Ensure your riding boots cover your ankles, and have soles that provide sufficient traction. Steel-toe footwear can help protect your feet, but the metal may cause additional injury if it becomes bent down onto the feet during an impact.

Finally, there is supplementary gear, such as back and spinal cord protectors, which offer additional protection. Depending on your comfort level and the nature of riding you do (e.g., sport-bike riders), supplementary gear may be worth consideration.

If you are looking for some great motorcycle gear but aren’t sure where to start, check out this great site: Best Motorbike Jackets.

If you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident, contact one of the critical injury lawyers at McLeish Orlando LLP for a free consultation.

Motorcycle Safety Series: Tips for New Riders

Blog 26 - moto rider

With summer nearly upon us, many people may be looking for new ways to enjoy the increasingly warm weather. Riding a motorcycle can be an exciting and fuel-efficient way to travel around and enjoy the scenery during this time of year. However, as a new rider, there are many things you should be aware of before hitting the open road to ensure your experience is both safe and enjoyable.

Educate Yourself

Before hopping on a motorcycle, it is important to be knowledgeable about the relevant information and licensing requirements for riding in your region.

In Ontario, motorcycling is governed by certain provincial laws. To drive a motorcycle you will need an M Class licence issued by the Ministry of Transportation. To apply for the licence, you will need to be at least 16 years old, pass an eye test and pass a written test about the rules of the road. Once you complete this, you will be given an M1 beginner’s licence entitling you to drive a motorcycle in a limited capacity. You will need to complete further testing in order to obtain a full M Class licence.

While motor-assisted bicycles, otherwise known as mopeds, motorized scooters or vespas, are not considered motorcycles, you will still be required to hold a valid M class licence to drive on public roads in Ontario. This includes limited-speed motorcycles as well.

Motorcycle training courses and written resources are widely available and can be highly beneficial to new riders. To learn more about the limitations and requirements of the M Class licencing procedure, you can visit the MTO website here.

Insurance for driving a motorcycle or motor-assisted bicycle is mandatory in Ontario. Many automobile insurers offer policies for motorcycles and other recreational vehicles, and some insurance companies may offer a reduced rate if you already have another policy with them.

Dress for Success

Traveling in closer proximity to the pavement while riding a motorcycle can result in serious injuries should you slide out or become involved in a motor vehicle collision. Protective clothing and gear can help keep you comfortable on your rides and reduce your chance of serious personal injury.

In Ontario, the law requires that your wear a regulation helmet at all times when operating or riding a motorcycle. You are responsible for ensuring passengers are wearing a helmet as well. Sporting a good helmet reduces your risk of suffering a head or brain injury, and certain types have shields that can protect your face as well.

Gloves and heavy clothing made of material that can protect your skin in the event that you hit pavement are critical for a safe ride. As well, durable shoes with a rugged sole and a closed toe will prevent your feet slipping and guard against the elements.

Inspect and Double Check

It’s a good idea for new riders to get into the habit of inspecting your bike before you ride. Before heading out, observe that your lights, signals and horn are all functioning properly. Confirm that your brakes, chain, belt and shaft are all in good condition, and check that tires are properly pressured and have not worn out. Ensuring you have a well-functioning bike decreases the chance of injury and increases rider confidence.

Knowing your route before you go also allows you to focus on the driving, and not on where you’re going. As a new rider, try to plan simple, quieter routes with lower speed limits that are well-lit and free of obstacles or road hazards.

Always check the weather before you head out on a ride. Motorcycles react differently to various weather conditions than other vehicles. Rain can reduce visibility and make for a slippery ride. In the event that you must travel in the rain, remember to avoid sudden maneuvers, take turns slow and leave extra room for stopping. If the forecast is calling for snow, ice, or heavy winds or rain, it is best to leave the bike at home.

Ride Consciously and Know Your Limits

Motorcycles can be thrilling and exhilarating, however they can also be highly dangerous. Remain conscious and alert at all times while operating any motor vehicle. Avoid riding while angry or exhausted – your mental state will directly correlate to your operation of the motorcycle.

It is important to share the road, and recognize your place amongst the other road users. Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, so ensuring you are visible to others when making lanes changes, traveling through blind spots and crossing traffic is critical to your personal safety. Maintaining a safe stopping distance and looking ahead on the road can decrease your risk of danger and make for a more predictable ride.

While riding with passengers or traveling in groups can be fun, new riders should be cautious not to indulge in more than they can handle. If you are still gaining experience as a rider, your best option is to ride solo, however if you choose to ride in a group, make sure they are aware of your skill level before heading out.

If you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident, contact one of the critical injury lawyers at McLeish Orlando LLP for a free consultation.