Posts Tagged ‘ motorcylcle law

Ontario’s Road Laws Fail to Protect Injured Motorcyclists

What may appear to be a “minor fender bender” between two cars can translate to catastrophic injury to cyclists, pedestrians or motorcyclists unfortunate enough to find themselves on the receiving end of such a crash.

While pedestrians and cyclists in Ontario are usually perceived as the most vulnerable group of road users, motorcyclists also face significant risk yet may face further legal battles that cyclists or pedestrians don’t.

For example, when cyclists or pedestrians are involved in collisions with other motor vehicles in Ontario, the operator of the motor vehicle must prove that he/she was not at fault. This is commonly referred to the “reverse onus” on the driver whose vehicle strikes a cyclist or pedestrian. In other words, the operator of the motor vehicle is presumed to be at fault unless they can prove otherwise.

Injured motorcyclists on the other hand cannot avail themselves of this “reverse onus” even though it is often the motorcyclists themselves (and their passengers) who pay the ultimate price because of the carelessness of other drivers.

For example between 2005 and 2014, the O.P.P. conducted a study , which found 279 motorcycle rider deaths. In 89 of these fatalities, consisting of 74 motorcycle operators and 15 motorcycle passengers, the victims did “nothing wrong”.

The sad reality is that motorcyclists are often seen as being “speed demons” and authors of their own misfortune. This poses additional barriers to injured riders who will often be accused of speeding, disobeying the rules of the road and/or causing the accident.  

Juries are unpredictable and insurance companies may pitch the narrative that you as the injured rider are at fault because you were on the motorcycle. The optics of being on a motorcycle shouldn’t but sadly CAN affect the outcome of your case as an injured motorcyclist.

As a motorcyclist, it is extremely important to anticipate these arguments being made against you if you are involved in a crash by no fault of your own. Having a motorcycle dashcam to record your road trips is a great way to capture the incident and have your side of the story documented in real time.

The law creates another uphill battle for injured motorcyclists. The last thing an injured motorcyclist needs is another hill to climb.

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