Motorcycle Insurance: Start the Season Off on the Right Track
Article revised on 9 March 2020
Touring, Custom, Harley-Davidson and sporty motorcycles hit Quebec roads as early as March 15! While waiting for a nod and a wink from Mother Nature, here are a few things you need to know to get the motorcycle season off on the right track.
Motorcycle insurance: a few facts
Insurance for bodily injury sustained in an accident falls under Quebec’s public automobile insurance plan. The Société d’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) processes claims for compensation. However, compensation for property damage must be paid under a private insurance plan.
The Quebec Automobile Insurance Act requires a minimum of $50,000 of liability insurance. This insurance provides coverage for bodily injury or property damage caused to third parties in the event of an accident. Insurers also offer the following coverages:
- Collision or upset, which covers damage caused by a collision for which you are responsible or when you are the victim of a hit-and-run.
- Comprehensive, which covers damage such as fire, theft, vandalism and glass breakage.
- Various perils, which is the less costly alternative to Comprehensive. However, the coverage provided is less extensive and does not include vandalism and glass breakage, among other things.
What’s more, insurers generally propose a premium that takes into account the fact that you use your motorcycle on a seasonal basis. That means that you no longer have to cancel your motorcycle insurance policy in the spring and have it reissued in the fall! You can go out for a ride anytime between March 15 and December 1st without worrying about your insurance.
A few motorcycle safety tips
The start of the season is particularly difficult for motocyclists due to sand and gravel left over from the winter, road surface imperfections and motorists unused to seeing motorcycles on the road. Some experts even believe that the weather can play a role in the number of falls observed. According to them, the cooler, denser air results in greater oxygen intake. Motorcyclists may be surprised by the potential for more power.
Did you know that 70% of mistakes made by motorists found to be responsible for an accident involving a motorcycle are due to the fact that they did not see them? (Source: SAAQ)
Other drivers often have trouble seeing a motorcycle, especially because of motorcyclists’ lack of visibility and the small size of the vehicle, especially when seen from the front. As well, there are fewer motorcyclists on the road (and not year-round), so other drivers do not necessarily expect to come across them.
How can you increase your visibility?
The SAAQ makes the following suggestions:
- Choose light or bright colours, for both your motorcycle and your protective clothing and accessories.
- Add headlights or auxiliary lights close to the rearview mirrors and near the bottom of the fork, to enlarge the visual outline of the motorcycle as much as possible. This helps other drivers see the motorcycle and better evaluate the distance between them and the approach speed.
- Be vigilant! You might be able to see other motorists, but that doesn’t mean that they can also see you.
Protective clothing and accessories
In the event of a fall or accident, your clothing and helmet may contribute to injury prevention or to gravity reduction.
Did you know that unhelmeted motorcyclists are over three times as likely to suffer a brain injury as were those who are helmeted? What’s more, the use of a helmet is estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatalities in motorcycle accidents. (Source: U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
So, what should you choose?
- Select clothing made of leather or anti-abrasive tear-resistant materials such as Kevlar, which feature added protection for elbows and knees.
- In addition to a jacket, motorcyclists should wear pants, gloves and footwear that are specially designed for riding a motorcycle. Passengers must also be properly protected.
- Make sure your helmet fits properly.
Happy trails – have a great summer!
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