Motorcycle Safety Tips for Drivers and Riders

motorcyclist riding on open road
According to the National Motorcycle Institute, riding a motorcycle is 27 times more dangerous than driving a car. But it’s not just riders who need a safety reminder.


Motorcycle safety is everyone’s responsibility; drivers of four-wheeled vehicles also play an important role in keeping motorcyclists safe on our roads.

In Ontario, motorcycles account for only a small fraction of the vehicles on our roads, but motorcycle accidents and fatalities are a growing concern every year.

To recognize Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May, we’re listing our most important motorcycle safety tips for both drivers and riders. We want to encourage everyone, even those who do not ride, to make motorcycle safety a priority this year.

Here are our top 5 motorcycle safety tips for riders:

Take a course.

Whether you’re a new rider or an experienced rider looking to refresh your skills, taking an approved rider training course will help increase your skill level and decrease your potential for disaster by teaching you the most important aspects of handling a motorcycle. For new riders, this should be a no-brainer! Successfully completing an approved course will arm you with essential skills needed to ride and will also allow you to move directly to an M2 license. In addition, you will be able to take your second road test after only 18 months instead of the standard 22 month waiting period.

Wear your gear.

In the event of a crash, your odds of avoiding serious or fatal injury dramatically increase if you are wearing the proper protective gear. Helmets are the most important piece of protection; they save lives and prevent traumatic brain injuries.  In addition, wearing leather clothing, boots and gloves can help protect the rest of your body from more severe injuries.

Control your speed.

Speeding is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents every year in Ontario. Remember the faster you are going, the more difficult it is to react and the longer it will take to stop (and usually the more severe the resulting injuries in a crash).

Practice defensive riding.

Following the rules of the road will not always be enough to keep you safe when riding. You have to stay alert and focused on your surroundings while practicing defensive riding to protect yourself from motorists who may not see you. Cars turning left in front of an oncoming motorcyclist are the most common concern, so slow down when approaching an intersection and be ready to react to any situation.

Ride sober.

It doesn’t matter what type of vehicle you are driving, impaired driving kills. Alcohol and drugs both severely impair your judgment and reaction time which often leads to accidents causing serious injury or even death. As a rider, make a commitment to motorcycle safety by taking the Motorcycle Safety Pledge.

I pledge to make safety a priority, to ride only when alert and fully prepared for the responsibility of motorcycling. I pledge to ride within my limits, ride sober, obey traffic laws and make arriving alive my greatest priority.

Top 3 motorcycle safety tips for drivers:

Be aware.

A motorcycle’s smaller size can make it appear farther away than it actually is, and may also make it difficult to accurately judge a motorcycle’s speed. To be safe, always assume a motorcycle is closer than it looks.

Check your blind spots.

Your view of motorcycles can be obstructed by other vehicles due to their size. Take an extra look when changing lanes or making a turn at an intersection. Vehicles making a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcyclist is the leading cause of crashed involving a motorcycle and another vehicle.

Stay alert.

Over half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle, and most of the time the motorist, not the motorcyclist is at fault. As a driver, make a commitment to motorcycle safety by taking the Motorcycle Safety Pledge.

I pledge to treat motorcyclists with respect by always looking twice, using turn signals, checking my blind spots before switching lanes and eliminating distractions while driving. I pledge to act as if a loved one is riding on each and every motorcycle I see. I promise to drive like their life depends on me, because ultimately, it may.