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Information Bulletin - Motorcycle Safety

May 18, 2007

Rider control and sharing the road are keys to safe motorcycling

Edmonton… A motorcyclist’s enjoyment and safety not only depends on mastering the skills of driving but also on remaining aware of traffic. In Alberta, this means ensuring you are seen while sharing the road with a multitude of personal and commercial vehicles.

Although some factors are out of the motorcyclist's control, having the right equipment can significantly increase safety. A motorcycle is the right size when the rider can place both feet on the ground when straddling the bike and the footpegs, and the handlebars and controls are comfortably positioned. The rider should be able to push, park and place the motorcycle on its stand without too much effort and reach and operate all controls without straining or stretching.

In addition to an approved motorcycle helmet, every rider and passenger should wear shatter-proof eye protection; a durable, brightly-coloured jacket; sturdy, long pants; full-fingered, non-slip gloves; leather footwear that protects the ankle; and rain and cold weather riding clothes when appropriate.

Tips for a safe trip

  • Ride defensively – keep your lights on and choose a lane that provides an escape route;
  • ride on the left portion of the lane in order to see oncoming traffic and avoid oil slicks in the centre;
  • make eye contact with drivers who may be about to pull into your path;
  • keep in mind that when drivers, cyclists and pedestrians see you approaching they may misjudge your distance and speed;
  • watch out for left-turning vehicles at intersections;
  • be aware of dangerous road surfaces such as slippery roads, uneven surfaces, railroad tracks, grooved pavement and sand and gravel, which may drastically affect the handling of a motorcycle;
  • stay out of a vehicle's blind spots and remember that motorcycles can be difficult for drivers to see in their rear-view mirrors; and,
  • don't drink and ride as alcohol affects vision, judgment, motor skills and sense of balance.

A Class 6 driver’s licence is required to operate a motorcycle and the minimum operating age is 16. The penalty for operating a vehicle without a proper licence is $230. Motorcyclists must abide by the same traffic rules and regulations as other motorists. New riders are strongly encouraged to attend a motorcycle skills course available through various organizations.

For more information about traffic safety, contact the Office of Traffic Safety at (780) 422-8839 or visit http://www.saferoads.com/.

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Media enquiries may be directed to:

Jeanette Espie
Office of Traffic Safety
Alberta Transportation
(780) 427-6588
Eileen McDonald
Alberta Transportation
(780) 422-0842 Cell: 422-0842

To call toll-free within Alberta dial 310-0000.