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Andy Watson

Manager, Strategic Communications
BC Coroners Service
250 356-9253


Tips for motorcycle safety

The following tips are for both motorcyclists and car drivers to help make roads safer for everyone:

Tips for the motorcyclist community: 

  • Riders need to keep within the posted speed limits and make sure to slow down before entering curves.
  • Prior to reaching a curve, plan your path through it. Reduce your speed and adjust your lane position. Always look in the direction of where you want to go. If you need to brake, remember to straighten up first.
  • When approaching an intersection, especially where oncoming traffic is waiting to turn left, adjust your lane position and reduce your speed so you will have an escape path or time to stop if you need it.
  • Read the drivers’ language: never assume they have seen you or will give you the right-of-way. They may not accurately judge your distance or speed of approach. Do your best to stay out of drivers’ blind spots.
  • To refresh your manoeuvres, practise in a closed course like an empty parking lot, or sign up for a local motorcycle-skills training session.
  • Whether it is your first ride or daily commute, tune up on the rules of the road with ICBC’s Learn to Ride Smart guide.
  • Avoid riding in the centre of the lane (where oil and other fluids gather), or on painted road markers.
  • When slowing or stopping in traffic, lightly tap your brakes two or three times to alert drivers behind you.
  • Remember to share the road and respect the rights of other road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles.
  • Wear the appropriate motorcycle gear. Always wearing a helmet that meets DOT, Snell or ECE safety standards, and safety gear designed for riding. Choose gear that gives you the best chance of being seen: bright colours and reflective materials.
  • Ride defensively, and do not assume that all car drivers can see you.
  • Use extra caution in all intersections.
  • Look where you want to go and watch out for road hazards.
  • Abide by the rules of the road.

Tips for car drivers:

  • Do not pull out in front of a motorcycle and use your signals every time you are about to switch lanes.
  • Be diligent with your shoulder-checking.
  • Use extra caution in all intersections. Scan intersections and look carefully for motorcycles. When turning left, look for oncoming motorcycles.
  • Stay focused and avoid distractions that take your mind off driving and your eyes off the road. Put any phone or handheld device down.
  • Motorcycles are far more difficult to see than other vehicles. It is easy to misjudge a motorcycle’s speed and distance. All car drivers should take that extra few seconds to look left, look right and look left again, before making a turn.
  • Tailgating and aggressive driving is far more dangerous to a motorcyclist because they have less protection; please give them more space than you would another car.
  • Watch carefully for motorcycles as they’re harder to see at dusk, at night, in bad weather and heavy traffic.
  • Give lots of space when passing a motorcycle and allow at least three seconds following distance when you are behind a motorcycle.
  • Make eye contact whenever possible to let motorcyclists know that you have seen them.
  • Always share the road with motorcycles. The safest choice is to yield the right-of-way to an oncoming rider as it can be hard to tell how fast they are travelling.