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Last updated Friday, Apr 09, 2021 08:51 AM

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Motorcycle safety

Whether you're a rider or a driver, these safety tips can help prevent motorcycle crashes and serious injuries.

Motorcycles are smaller than passenger vehicles, harder to see and don't offer the protection of a frame, seatbelts or airbags. In B.C., drivers are at fault in nearly 80 per cent of motorcycle crashes where the rider is seriously injured. Read our safety tips to learn how we can reduce crashes and injuries through better driving habits and wearing the right gear on every ride.

Motorcycle rider safety

Training and years of riding experience can make the difference when it comes to avoiding a crash. Reduce your chances of crashing or being seriously injured by following these safety tips:

  • Practice emergency braking and obstacle avoidance. Brush up on core skills in a safe place like an empty parking lot if you haven't ridden for a few months.
  • Be seen. Do your best to stay out of a driver's blind spot.
  • Watch drivers for clues. Never assume they’ve seen you or will give you the right-of-way, they may not accurately judge your distance or speed.
  • Use your signals. Let drivers know what you plan to do so they can anticipate your next move and react in time.
  • Plan your path prior to a curve. Look where you want to go and then adjust your lane position and speed to exit smoothly.
  • Ride at a safe speed. Manage your speed to leave ample time to stop or steer out of a vehicle's path.

The first ride after a long break can often leave you feeling a little rusty. ICBC's Learn to ride smart and Tuning up for riders guides provide great information for bringing your knowledge and riding skills back up to par.


Motorcycle passenger safety

Remember that it's all the gear, all the time for passengers too! You’re responsible for ensuring your passenger wears an approved motorcycle helmet and is seated properly. To carry a passenger, your motorcycle must be equipped with passenger foot pegs or footboards, and the passenger must keep their feet on the pegs or boards while seated on the motorcycle. If their feet don’t reach the foot pegs, it’s illegal for them to ride.

A passenger will affect how you ride due to the extra weight and movement so be prepared to adjust for the change by taking a practice ride in a safe place. Make sure your passenger is safe and comfortable riding with you.

Sharing the road safely with motorcycles

Motorcycle crashes in B.C. peak in the summer as warmer weather and conditions bring more riders onto the road. Six out of ten crashes involving a motorcycle in B.C. happen at an intersection. Police report that driver distraction and drivers who fail to yield are the top factors in car crashes with motorcycles (2014-2018 police data).


You can help prevent a crash with a motorcycle by following these tips:
  • Scan intersections carefully and take an extra moment to look for motorcycles when you're turning left.
  • Stay alert and avoid distractions that take your mind off driving or your eyes off the road.
  • Allow at least three or four seconds of following distance when behind a motorcycle and plenty of lane space when you pass.
  • Be ready to yield as a motorcycle is often closer than it seems. Remember it can be hard to tell how fast they're travelling.

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