There are lots of reasons to love motorcycling. People enjoy the ease of going on mini adventures on the weekend, exploring the many great Alberta rides there are in the province. Without being trapped inside a vehicle, riders feel more connected with their environment and surroundings. There is also the camaraderie that comes along with the motorcycling culture, with numerous iconic stops on Alberta’s highways inviting motorcyclists to stop and socialize. Let’s not forget the image involved, as well. Motorcycles are just cool, and you can’t help but also feel cool when astride a bike.
Unfortunately, however, motorcycles are far more likely to be in an accident than a regular vehicle, and they are happening more often in Alberta. A tragic accident happened just last weekend near Cochrane, which claimed the life of the driver. According to Global news, the province saw a 90% increase in motorcycle-related fatalities in 2020 (21 deaths), than in 2019 (11 deaths). Out of those accidents, 70% were a single-vehicle crash, meaning no other drivers were involved. Because motorcycles are smaller and drivers are less protected, the damage and injuries caused are often far greater.
To drive a motorcycle in Alberta you must have a Class 6 drivers licence. This requires both a written and a road test, and you have to bring your own bike for the test. You will be taken through a series of maneuvers while communicated with by an examiner through ear buds. You must be at least 16 years old and have had a Class 7 learner’s licence for at least a year, or have a full Class 5 driver’s licence in order to take the test.
Taking an accredited motorcycle safety and driving course is a great way to prepare, improve your skills, and can help you earn a discount on your motorcycle insurance.
Safe driving practices
Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable people on the road. They travel at the same speed as cars but don’t have large bodies of steel and glass to protect drivers and passengers. Thus, owners have a unique set of safety needs.
The most common motorcycle accidents include:
- Head-on collisions
- Collisions with turning vehicles
- Lane splitting
- Collisions with fixed objects
Avoid accidents by practicing defensive driving, being extremely aware of your surroundings, and never taking your attention off what you are doing.
- Always keep your eyes active, scan the road consistently and anticipate traffic movements ahead of time.
- Motorcyclists are trained to ride as close to the centre of the lane as possible for optimal visibility, and you put yourself at risk if you’re too far to the left when travelling next to a yellow line. Staying a little closer to the right gives you more leeway to avoid a collision with an oncoming vehicle.
- Reduce your speed. Ride within the speed limit at all times to help you keep control of your motorcycle and give you some additional time to react. Those extra seconds can make all the difference.
- Practice evasive maneuvers, such as quick swerves, fast braking, and accident avoidance. Know what to do in every situation and always look where you want to go.
Keep the noise down
Some motorcycles can be a little on the loud side due to their relatively exposed engines. Be cognizant of this fact and conscientious of your neighbours and fellow citizens and do your best to keep the noise down. Remember that many cities in Alberta have noise bylaws that will earn you a fine should you violate them.
In Calgary, owners of vehicles registering over 96 decibels can receive a $270 ticket. Calgary Police Services uses a device called a Noise Snare to catch offenders.
In Edmonton, idling motorcycles registering at 92 decibels or louder can receive a $250 fine. The city’s bylaw is more detailed than Calgary’s, as it also addresses rpm. Motorcycles with less than three cylinders or more than four cylinders reaching noise levels of 96 decibels at 2,000 rpm and those with three or four cylinders in excess of 100 decibels at 5,000 rpm are also subject to a fine.
Obtain proper motorcycle insurance
Motorcycle insurance works a lot like regular auto insurance. Motorcycle insurance is comprised of two major components: liability coverage and your choice of comprehensive or comprehensive plus collision coverage.
It is mandatory in Alberta that all types of drivers purchase a minimum of $200,000 in liability coverage, which covers for costs incurred when an accident (or incident) results in litigation. Liability insurance enhances your personal financial protection, leaving you more secure in the event of an accident that causes damage to personal or public property and/or an injury to another.
It’s up to you to decide about the other two elements of motorcycle insurance – comprehensive or comprehensive plus collision insurance. Comprehensive coverage provides for repairs for damage caused to your bike by perils other than a collision. Comprehensive motorcycle insurance is designed to cover for incidences such as vandalism, flood, hail, theft, fire and any other named perils that are considered out of the control of the owner of the motorcycle.
Collision coverage is a way to “top up” your comprehensive coverage to include compensation for at-fault accidents. Collision insurance will reimburse you for the cost of repairs for damage caused to your motorcycle, and in many cases providers will assist you in obtaining a quote and finding you a reputable repair shop. Both comprehensive and comprehensive plus collision insurance will require you to pay your deductible when you file a claim.
Collision insurance covers any repairs up to the fair market value of your motorcycle. If your motorcycle is older and repairs would likely cost more than its value, it’s possible you may not need collision insurance. However, you also need to consider if you could afford paying for the mechanic or financing for another motorcycle in this case.
Trust Lane’s for the very best in motorcycle insurance coverage
Riding your motorcycle makes you feel a special kind of freedom. Protect that freedom by insuring your motorcycle with people who offer great customer service and competitive pricing. You can trust your agent at Lane’s Insurance to help you design a motorcycle insurance policy that is right for you, so you can enjoy peace of mind every time you head out on the road.